Some while ago I received an email from Frank Massey wondering if it would be possible for a group of Guilford College students to visit Belize. After making contact with Eden in the FUM office we proceeded with plans. The first plan was for the group to be in Belize for 7 days then fly to Jamaica and be there for 7 days.
We discovered that there is no flight from Belize to Jamaica. Belizeans who want to visit Jamaica fly to Miami, stay overnight, and fly on to Jamaica. Well, that was going to raise the cost of the trip significantly so we made arrangements for the group to spend the whole 14 days in Belize.
We cast about for ways to be helpful for that period of time. I asked it the group would be willing to do some original research on Quakers in Belize. The Cains, the Barbers, the Stouts, and Judy Lumb still live here and I thought we could set up some interviews with them as well as with Ms Candi. Frank asked the students and indicated that they were excited about that possibility.
The plan also included tutoring in the classroom from the beginning of the school day until the mid-morning snack break and some hands on projects at the school, including giving the exterior paint a good scrubbing..
We scheduled the Barber home for their lodging but with the addition of the second week we had to move, in the middle of their stay, to the Belcove hotel which is downtown next to the river. There were actually some advantages to being downtown because it was an easy walk to eating places and to school.
We scheduled a little playtime as well, of course and a trip to Caye Caulker was on the agenda from the start. Then we discovered that the aunt and uncle of one of the Guilford students, Christopher, lived on Ambergris Caye near San Pedro so some students visited there as well.
The students also went on a field trip we already had scheduled for our students to the water treatment plant and to the Museum of Belize.
When it came close to the end of the trip we began to realize that our students and the Guilford students had formed some friendships and so a little party on the last day at school was in order, cupcakes and all.
Ms Candi and I took them to the airport on Wednesday (yesterday) and made sure they got through the airport. It must have been a bit of a shock to leave Belize City at about 80 degrees and arrive to snow and freezing rain in North Carolina.
I have traveled with college groups. I have heard other hosts talk about the horrors of hosting college groups — and I really must say that they don’t come any better than this one. They were respectful of our staff and of our students. They were loving and caring. They were full participants in Sunday morning worship and they always conducted themselves in ways that made me proud. I will probably be spoiled for time immemorial.
Here are a few pictures of the Guilford students with “their boys”: