Packing for a Purpose in Belize
We booked a short trip to western Belize and secured reservations at Ka'ana Boutique Resort for a quick four-night break.
While searching their web site for possible excursion ideas, we noticed the resort is a participant in Pack For A Purpose. We exchanged several emails and spoke with the resort's reservations manager Patricia Rodriguez regarding their project school. We asked her to contact the school directly in order to narrow down the list of most needed or desired items rather than duplicating items other might have brought in the past.
As we have done a fair bit of travel in Central American over the years, we are generally aware of the many needs of the indigenous people, especially schools in smaller communities. As such, we have a long standing tradition of taking along extra items clothing, hygiene products and books), when we are able to locate a recipient source of interest.
Thanks to the efforts of Patricia, Mr. Vivanni Teul, the principal of the Succotz Primary School in the village of San Jose Succotz, provided us with some priority items we might consider packing.
Our duffle bag was loaded with tooth brushes, tooth paste (the school has an ongoing basic health initiative for the younger children), band aids, antibacterial ointment (kids do get bumps and scratches), English language books, flash cards, crayons, drawing paper, assorted sizes of tee shirts and a few small toys to fill out the load.
Upon arriving and wishing not to be too disruptive to their normal school day schedule (we stopped by on our late afternoon drive in from the airport in Belize City), we took a brief tour of the school and classrooms with Mr. Teul. More than 300 children attend classes in the modest but improving facility. It is impressive to see the achievements by Mr. Teul and his small teaching staff have brought to the community. The students we met were friendly, courteous and inquisitive about the U.S.
In reflecting back on the minimal time, efforts and costs associated with assembling the items we carried along; the smiles, laughter and wide-eyed anticipation of the children will linger as a pleasant and unexpected reward for some time.
We were definitely the greatest beneficiaries of the endeavor and would encourage other travelers to consider participating whenever possible!