A Mayan Cave, 50 Cattle, and a Starfruit Grove—Just One Day in Belize

By Danielle ('20/SEBS)

Danielle ('20/SEBS), a pre-veterinary student and a member of the Honors College, traveled to Belize over Winter Break as part of a student team providing services there. She shared her amazing experience with us:

"It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite moment or experience from Belize; I feel like every day there came with an incredible memory that will stick with me forever. However I think what stood out to me the most were the people. Everyone there was so genuine, nice, and just happy. One day we hosted a free spay/neuter clinic in the small village of Arenal, where the locals brought their pets for treatment and we examined 67 animals and performed 19 surgeries in one morning. I wish I could put into words how truly incredible that day was. I learned so much and was able to do what I loved, and at the same time we were able to help so many animals and their owners. Everyone there was so thankful for what we did, and so that night I promised myself that one day I will return to Belize and help out again.

"There was one day that we went to a cattle farm to vaccinate and deworm about 50 cattle. It was a long and tiring but super fun morning. Afterwards, the owners of the farm took us to their starfruit and orange orchards where we climbed into the trees and picked and ate all the starfruit we could. The orchard sat in a valley between two mountains and it was an unreal sight. Later that day we went and visited a cave that the Mayans had used as a sacrificial site. The cave was beautiful. We were able to see where the sacrifices were done and the remains of some of the skeletons. When we were about a mile into the cave, the tour guide had us all link up our canoes and turn all of our lights out. It was pitch black, and all you could hear was the water dripping somewhere far away. He then set the scene of a Mayan sacrifice and it gave everyone goose bumps. Afterwards, we were able to climb up outside the cave and jump into the water and go swimming around the cave, in the middle of the rainforest. It was so much fun. Then out of nowhere it started down pouring. And we all just stood there, in the pouring rain, looking at the cave and the beautiful rainforest around it. It was an incredible sight, like something out of a movie. It was truly breathtaking and I don’t think I could describe how beautiful it was, it’s something you have to see for yourself to believe. I think there, in that moment, I realized the true beauty of Belize."

Danielle was a recipient of a James F. Dougherty Study Abroad Endowed Scholarship, which helped make this trip possible.