Belize is not just about tourism. Sometimes people want to give back. At Mariposa Jungle Lodge, we advocate the aspect of eco-tourism that concerns contributions to the indigenous community. We are so grateful when our like-minded guests share in our goals.
This week we were blessed by a visit from a three-generation family of 17 who chose us as the site for a family reunion of members from Israel, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. They wanted to do more than typical tourist activities. They wanted to contribute a half day of labor and asked us to find a feasible community project. Our General Manager, Nelmarie Bol, investigated options and learned that local volunteers were working on tear-down, clean-up and renovation of the San Antonio R.C. School cafeteria. The principal eagerly accepted the assistance of our volunteers.
So, in the heat of July “rainy season,” with amazing daytime sunny weather, the family went to work. They cleaned, collected debris, removed an old chain link and post fence, gathered up 15 large bags of trash, and helped where asked. The 4 year-old “helped” with raking.
The hot morning’s work was rewarded by a hike along a nearby trail that leads to a natural emerald spring for swimming.
On other days, they visited the Maya ruins at Cahal Pech and Xunantunich, ATM, and the San Ignacio Farmers Market to learn about our local culture and natural wonders. Some chose to spend a day traveling to San Pedro via water taxi to snorkel at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. The entire group enjoyed canoeing together on the Macal River on the first day and a full day at Caracol, Rio Frio Cave and swimming at Big Rock Falls for the grand finale of their full and fulfilling week in Belize.
Some guests contribute school materials and gently used clothing through our Pack for a Purpose initiative,others contribute cash to the Mariposa Scholarship Fund, and others contribute labor. We are grateful to all and proud to be part of the overall goal of “giving” to the community surrounding our Lodge.