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Study Abroad

An UnBelizeable Day

May 23, 2014

Day two started when we all woke up to the sound of ear numbing downpours on the tin roofs of our cabins. This made us somewhat nervous as the next seven or so hours of our day were to be spent completely outside. We bolted our ways to the dining hall at Monkey Bay where the kitchen staff had prepared and amazing, delicious, traditional Belizean breakfast.

BalboaAs the downpours turned to drizzles, eventually transitioning into complete sunshine, we all boarded a bus headed for the Belize Zoo. When we arrived, we were welcomed by Balboa the boa constrictor. Each of us, with the exception of a couple faint hearted souls, draped Balboa over our shoulders surprised by how gentle the giant snake was. Miss Johanna, our more than knowledgeable guide for the day, first brought us to the Tapir Town section of the Belize Zoo. She introduced us to Fuego and Navidad, two of the zoo's Tapirs, or more informally known as the mountain cow. The Tapir is also the national animal of Belize. We were all given the chance to pet and feed these adorable mammals that are a cross between a horse and a rhinoceros. The Tapir was only the beginning of our animal interactions for the day. Black Spider Monkeys, King Vultures, an American Crocodile and a Scarlet Macaw named Charlie, are only a few of the native Belizean wildlife we were introduced to on day two.  Possibly the closest encounter we had, was with Lucky Boy, a rescued Black Jaguar who gave us all high-fives. Lucky Boy

All of the wildlife at the Belize Zoo has been rescued in some way. Lucky Boy was abandoned and left to starve to death at a resort. Boy George, a Brown Pelican, was injured with a broken wing. Springfield, a Jaguar at the Belize Zoo was also a rescue. Upon her arrival to the zoo she gave birth to her son Junior Buddy, who not only allowed us to view him up close but also did tricks for us thanks to Miss. Johanna's direction. In addition to all of these, we are thrilled to say that we saw Boomer in Belize! Not Torchbearer Boomer but a Jabiru Stork named Boomer. He was an orphan from the Belizean Village Burrel Boom, hence the name Boomer.

boomerAfter our once in a lifetime animal encounters, we volunteered our time to help the zoo clean the pathways guests used to navigate the rustic campus of the Belize Zoo. After sweeping and raking the leaves and natural debris we collected all of it in wheelbarrows and placed it in the tapir habitat for bedding.

After a long, amazing day at the Belize Zoo we returned to Monkey Bay where the co-founder, Marga Miller, shared her remarkable story of how Monkey Bay came to be. A traditional Belizean BBQ dinner was to follow which was just as good as it sounds. Now we are off to the fire-pit at Monkey Bay where traditional Belizean drumming and dancing is waiting for us. Today was exhausting but more so amazing. We cannot wait for tomorrow and for what the next six days will bring!