Belize Service Trip 2004

E-mail update from Lee Rice

Belize in 2004On Thursday, March 12, the students participating in the 2004 Belize Service Project broke camp at dawn, marking our last morning at Honey Camp. Our work on the church in San Roman complete, we headed south to Belize City. The city was festive but dilapidated, and the scorching heat seemed to intensify the stench from the open sewer canals. After navigating the narrow, congested streets, we found the boat taxis to take us across the Caribbean water to Caye Caulker, one of several small islands (or cayes, pronounced keys) that dots Belize's coral reef, the most spectacular reef in the Western hemisphere.

The scene was one of immediate contrast from our ramshackle departure point-crystal blue water, abundant bird and fish life, and small, sandy islands speckled with palm trees. After a forty-five minute boat ride we arrived at Caye Caulker and checked into our guesthouse. We were joined by ROW President and Hampden-Sydney friend Ben Mathes as well as by ROW Trustee Dr. Chris Price, who had worked and camped with the group all week. For the next two days our staple diet of rice and beans was replaced with conch fritters and fish, and our routine of manual labor was replaced with sailing, snorkeling, and fishing. Scuba divers like Tom Melton '06, Brad Israel '04, and Simon Everett '06 dove hundred-foot depths to explore Blue Hole-considered the second best dive site in the world-while fly fishermen like William Horner '05, Matt Anderson '04, Tyler Hustrulid '04, and Matt Weekly '07 went in search of the elusive bone fish in the flats off the northern tip of the island.

On Sunday morning, we boarded boats back to Belize City and caught our return flight to the States. Students arrived on campus in time to unpack and catch a quick nap before heading off to class Monday morning.

Students Participating:
Matthew G. Anderson '06
John Axsom '05
James Barton '06
Simon Everett '06
Michael Handlan '06
William Horner '05
Tyler Hustrulid '04
Brad Israel '04
Wesley Lawson '04
Thomas Melton '06
Jonathan Noggle '06
Matt Weekley '07
Trip Leaders: Lee Rice '01 and Drew McIlreavy '03
Reports from the front:
3-8-2004     3-9-2004     3-10-2004