Saturday, February 23, 2013

Last Day! Home is next!

Please click here to see our video filmed underwater: UnderWater video

Jamie again!

I will take this moment to write about 5 things I’ve gotten to check off my bucket list:

1.       Pet a jaguar

2.       Jump into the middle of the ocean to snorkel

3.       See a real-life manatee

4.       Climb Maya ruins

5.       River raft through a rainstorm in a rainforest

So yeah, this trip has been pretty awesome!

Today we went snorkeling in four locations. The reefs were super cool, and there were tons of fish and other aquatic animals. We even saw a stingray that was about the size of Amanda! We boated out to open ocean, and I faced my fears and was able to jump off! We dove down in between the pieces of coral, and yes, I will admit, explored our inner Ariel. We then journeyed on to a mangrove forest, where we saw FOUR manatees floating around like the big fat grey blobs they are! Don’t get me wrong though, they can go pretty fast! Our instructor Jen jumped off and swam with one of them. I was only slightly jealous! Anyway, I got to go return this computer, because Pamster needs to pack it. And Amanda needs help treating her “minor” sunburn. Here I come to save the day!
See you all tomorrow!


Tokyo, Yaritza, and Chupacabra here! Jamie pretty much explained everything… Awesome day, though! Water was incredibly warm and so clear and beautiful. We saw so much wildlife including groupers (Highlight of the trip for Yaritza and me!), eels during the night snorkel, gigantic rays (which luckily were sleeping and inactive), adorable manatees, numerous species of exotic fish, and gorgeous coral. We learned a lot about the ecosystem here and how much humans have begun to negatively affect it. Due to global warming, certain types of coral lose the ability to sustain themselves in the hot weather while others are impacted by hurricanes, also caused by climate change. Sunscreen and bug spray can cause harm to the animals in Belize, as well. We learned all of this thanks to our new instructors, Jen and Sean (By the way, happy birthday Jen!). Unfortunately, today was our final full day in this beautiful country and we are ridiculously sad to be leaving. We will miss our guide, Peter, who was funny and very knowledgeable, and our friend from the World Leadership Program, Javier, who was hilarious and hilarious and hilarious! We will also greatly miss the food here, which is too delicious for words! During this trip, we learned so much, saw so much, and had so much fun experiencing the great culture of Belize! We wish we could stay longer. However, we are greatly looking forward to coming home and seeing our… phones! Being away from technology has been very painful for certain members of our group… Meaning ME!

Thank you Belize! Both excited and sad to come home tomorrow evening. See you guys tomorrow!
And, thank you to our two fearless leaders in Belize, Javier Cano and Peter Herrera

CAYES are Cool!

Pamster here.....This place is gorgeous, but our photos are taking too long to upload so I'll post them when I get back.  We're off to snorkel, all day today!  We also go to Smithsonian for climate change research as well.

I'll send photos when we return, but you will all be jealous!!

Negativo into Positivo!

Hello to all, Amandoo here.  Today was a pretty uneventful day, well, for me at least.  As you all may know, we left the Mayan village this morning, to our dismay, as we miss everyone there already, and traveled to Tobacco Caye, a small island off the coast.  And when I say small, I mean SMALL.  It took me five minutes to walk the perimeter.  I, personally, am very pleased with the accommodations, as I am the only one of us brave enough to sleep on the top bunk and the one in this room is quite stable.  The journey here was a bit boring, but my opinion may be slightly biased considering I was asleep the whole time.  The boat ride was bumpy, but tolerable, and the view from the island is spectacular.  Not to mention the water is 80°F at its coldest and crystal clear.  We took a practice snorkel this afternoon to test our equipment and we were lucky enough to see a lionfish!  (Don’t worry, we didn’t touch it.)  Half of us chose to go on the night snorkel tonight, whereas the other half was just too tired and napped instead.  (I am a member of the latter group.)  Those of us who stayed in tonight will be snorkeling tomorrow night, in addition to the other activities planned for the afternoon.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  You’ll hear all about that later.  Good night to everyone, I am off to sleep (again).

Hello blogging world! Jamie here! I was the lucky winner of getting to come blog about….the night snorkel! (Which I so bravely faced twenty minutes ago.) I shall start from the beginning. We set foot in the water. Not to criticize Amandoo, but the water was most definitely NOT 80°F. I’m thinking more like 70. And when there is a cool breeze blowing, it feels COLD! (Don’t tell her I told you. She’ll be in for a shock when SHE has to jump in.) Abbie and I were partners, and by the end we were clinging to each other for warmth. We started by seeing some little tiny fishes that were attracted to our light and swam in and out of our fingers! Then we saw some lobsters/crabs and some conch. We were SUPER bummed, however, because due to the position of the moon, the bioluminescence was not bioluminescing. (That’s not a word, but let’s go with it.) So we missed out on getting to feel like tinkerbell. L But at the very end of the snorkel, we went through Eel Loop. Eels are not my favorite animal on the planet, but I managed to not completely lose consciousness in the water. We saw about five GINORMOUS neon green eels creepily grinning at us from their little eel holes. (My love for eels is just oozing out, can’t you tell?) So we completed the snorkel just in time to come back freezing  to unheated showers. Huzzah! But at least Amanda and Julia are offering some lovely entertainment. It involves backflips off of bunk beds. (Don’t freak out, mothers, they are safe in my hands!) I would love to stay and chat, but I have to get them to stop before one of them breaks a hip, and I get no sleep.




Thursday, February 21, 2013


Greeting earthlings!

Today we finished up our work at the school- we cemented the corn holes and painted the se saws and the corn holes. Since we finished early, we got to play with the kids and help them in the classrooms. After eating lunch, we went back and put a second coat of paint on the corn holes and se saws. We were talking to the principal and he referred to our project as “the beginning of a big project”. Right before we were about to leave, one of the kids got hurt, I’ll leave Tomiko to go into details. Working with the kids is a lot of fun, but we all feel bad because a lot of the kids have trouble with reading and basic math skills. Regardless, it has been a great experience for us to get to work with these amazing children.


Hey peeps!

Today was super fun and exciting! We had an awesome time playing with the children and finishing up our projects. Unfortunately towards the end of the day while I was playing with a few of the younger kids, one little boy got hit by a stick and cracked his head open. It was very sad, but he was very strong and is all better now! After returning to our hotel and resting for a bit, we met up with the former chief of the village, Ernesto Saqui, the coach of the Maya Center’s women’s team, Carlos, the principal of the local school, Liberato Saqui, and female leader, Arora Gonzales. We discussed the history of the village, environmental issues that have begun to emerge, and new solutions that can improve the future of Belize. Afterwards a group of Mayan dancers performed for us, and in return Abbie showed off her ballet skillage and Yaritza and Jamie beautifully sang a cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” We celebrated the end of our time in this community with more dancing and ice cream. Overall, this day was extremely fun and I am sad that we are leaving this village. However, more adventures are to come as we continue to venture into the great wild beyond!


Photo of our group with Carlos, the girls' soccer team Coach.  This may be the first Mayan girls team in Belize for all we know, so we decided to sponsor them.  We'll be fundraising to provide uniforms, coaching supplies, and hopefully a lawnmower....the machete takes too long!

 Liberato Saqui (school principal) and Mrs. Conti (aka Pamster) going over new math supplies to help with fractions and decimals - thank you to all the Pegasus teachers who donated supplies to the school, they loved them!

Ernesto Saqui, the village chief for over 26 years and owner of the Maya Center where we stayed.  Holding a Calabash fruit from his tree.  Calabash is used by the Mayans to make bowls, collanders, and water carrying vessels.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

River Tubing and more...

Hi! It's Julia.

Today at the school we made great progress on making the see-saws. The kids loved playing on them. We also got to play football, climb trees, and play catch/tag. They like to run and chase us even though it is super hot. I am excited to play more with them tomorrow, but I am so sad tomorrow is our last day.

Click on the link to see the video:
kids playing with see saw
Tomiko and Abbie
River Tubing In the Forest!!!

Hello everyone!

This afternoon we went tubing in a local river! We took a van to a hiking trail, then we took about a fifteen minute hike to the river. While on the way to the river the sky became overcast. At first we thought nothing of it. It was not until it began to drizzle that we noticed the weather. What began as a drizzle turned into heavy rainfall. The rain stopped as we started down the lazy river. Along the way, we participated in two leadership skill building activities. During the second activity it started to poor down rain! We went tubing down a river in beautiful weather and pouring rain in the middle of a rainforest! Today was pretty amazing! I am looking forward to tomorrow!


Hey guys! It’s T, Abbie, and Martin (our new 8 year-old friend)! Today was very fun and entertaining! We got to interact with the schoolchildren in their classrooms by helping them with reading and practicing math. After spending time at the school, we realized how truly blessed we are to receive such a great education from Pegasus. Most of the kids here in Belize do not get the special attention they need because there are too few teachers and too many students. They didn’t have the proper learning materials like pencils and paper, until we brought them some. Tomorrow we will continue working with them, and although it is our last day in this community, we will have tons and tons of fun!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cacao Plantation (Amanda)

Good evening to all, Amandoo the Grasshopper speaking.  To whoever said Heaven didn’t exist on Earth, it’s time for you to visit a chocolate plantation.  And while you’re at it why don’t you make your own super dark chocolate from the cacao beans too.  That is how we spent a glorious and delicious afternoon.   Might I add that I was very pleased to be off of sewing duty this morning, and I have discovered that football is a much more promising sport than volleyball, to Yaritza’s dismay.  (Just kidding, I already knew that.)  We will be going inner-tubing tomorrow (!) and I can’t wait.  But of course, let’s get back to everybody’s favorite topic: chocolate.  That’s all we really care about.  We visited an organic chocolate plantation, and the best part was watching Jamie being carried across the stream so as to avoid getting her ankle brace wet.  I was lucky enough to experience tasting a cacao bean fresh from the tree, and I have to say, its resemblance to alien brains must be more than a coincidence. I loved it anyway.  (Julia didn’t.)  We made our own Mayan chocolate, which is much more difficult than it seems.  It involved much grinding, mushing, and stirring.  But the result was definitely the highlight of my day; that and teaching young children the joys of American football.  I’m having the time of my life down here, although I’m pretty sure everyone’s getting tired of my Gollum impersonations.  Oh well, not much can be done about that, what do you think, precioussssss?  The bugs are pretty annoying, but the food makes up for it.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually looking forward to getting up in the morning for the first time in my life.  I can’t wait to go back to the school and see those amazing kids.  Well, I better go, it’s past Julia’s bedtime.  Bye everybody!  ~Amandoo

Monday, February 18, 2013

Videos that you want to watch

Please click on these links to watch the great videos about our Belizian Adventure! Thanks!


Mayan Ruins

Abby's TP story

School time!

Hi everybody! It's Julia. This is going to be very short because everyone covered most of the good stuff that happened. I would just like to say it is awesome here and I am having a great time. The kids are super sweet, cute, and jamie is awesome, and fun to be with. I played jump rope or skip (that is what the kids called jump rope)for about an hour, but it was so fun! I have only managed to memorize a couple of the kids names, which include, Jennifer and Kenya. While the kids were in class Amanda, Jamie, and I worked on sewing bean bags for a bean bag toss. As people have said before me there was chocolate eating, tortilla eating, and coffee bean eating(I don't like coffe beans.) Today was fun and I can't wait till tomorrow.
~Julia the awesome

We learn so MUCH!

Hello world! Jamie aqui. (Some kids at the school actually speak Spanish, so if any teachers are reading this, may I hint at extra credit oppportunities because I spoke to them in a foreign language?)

Click here to see The Jaguar video! It's super cool!

I will take a page from Mrs. Wilder's book, and begin with a quotation:
"This is what I've learned from Mr. Eric: poker face, hand face, BANANA!!!" -Abbie

As you can see, we are having an extremely educational trip! Actually though, we have learned so much already, and it's only day 3!! I shall start with what I call Pamster Wisdom. For example, she was explaining about a snake called a ferdilance (spelled COMPLETELY wrong.) For a good ten minutes, I was convinced she was saying fertile ants.
Overall, she and Mr. Eric have been great sports in dealing with six bug-a-phobic, southern California, hormone-induced teenagers. Which includes the fact that we call her Pamster.
To sum up our day, we began with going to the school, where we met engergy-filled preschool through second graders. We split into two groups, with Abbie, Tomiko, and Yaritza going to lay the foundation for three teeter-totters, and Julia, Amanda, and me starting on sewing beanbags for the beanbag toss. Though we are not expert seamstresses, we have learned quite a bit about sewing. Mr. Eric even tried! I will say the best of us was Javier. He finished 1.5 bags, whereas the rest of us finished 1/2-1 bag.
The best part of the day was when the kids came out to play. Though shy at first, they soon warmed up, and before long we were all playing tag, duck duck goose, and soccer (futbol). I made two particular friends named Jennifer and Kenya,  who came right up to me and grabbed my hand. Amanda's hair was a very big topic of interest for many of the girls and even some boys, due to the colored feathers she has woven in.
After school (and delicious lunch!) we went to a Mayan cultural museum, where we got to make tortillas (we all deserve Mayan husbands) and juice sugar cane. Pamela/Pamster/Ms. Pam/Mrs. Conti went into much more detail on her blog. Right now, I'm tired, so I'm going to sign off!
Yours in Belize,
PS Abbie would like me to let you know that comments are welcome.
Pamster grinds coffee.

Maya Center Maya Museum

I made tortillas!!!

First day of work at the Maya school

Mrs. Conti here,

Just wanted to give you all an update on the incredible experience we had today at the Mayan elementary school. The girls all worked diligently to execute the tasks at hand which included digging holes for the see-saws, mixing concrete, and setting the wooden posts in place for the see-saws.

The other half of the girls worked on sewing bean bags for the bean bag toss game we'll be making tomorrow. I think the objective of this trip has already been acheived, in only one day of work, and I cannot be more proud of the Pegasus students.  We still have several more days of work, but if they were my daughters, and I hope Mia will experience this one day, I would be incredibly proud of the way they work together, work with the children, and "stretch" themselves in a totally different world than what they are used to.

They were polite, hard-working, friendly and very interested in everything that has been presented to them thus far.  We especially enjoyed working with some of the students today.  My personal highlight was helping the teacher with a class of 30 students in two speparate grades, probably 2nd and 3rd.  I worked with one group while she taught the other.  We mostly worked on reading skills. 

 I promised to come back after lunch and several of the girls came with me, even though it was their "down-time" they still wanted to work with the kids. We are very much looking forward to going back tomorrow.

After we worked at the school we walked down the village road where we are staying and visited the Maya Museum.  Very interesting, hands-on instruction and insight into the Maya world unfoled before our eyes.  It's a tiny little shack, but much was learned.  We made our own tortillas, and if ours "puffed" up it meant we would make a "good Mayan wife", we ground coffee beans, pressed sugar cane and learned all about the different pottery and all of the natural resources and materials used in the Maya world.  The musuem hopes to help the younger Maya generation hold onto their culture, while educating the outside world.

This has been an unbelievably valuable trip on many, many levels that I know will have a profound impact on all of the students and Mr. Hartwell and myself forever.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 1 Belize Feb. 17, 2013

Dios friends and family! (Dios means “hello” in Mopan Mayan). This is our very first blog post from the Mayan Cultural Center in Belize. Thus far, our trip has been absolutely incredible! Soon after arriving in the country, we saw exotic species of animals and plants at the Belize Zoo and the Tropical Educational Center. During our night tour with the guide Tim, we met an ocelot, a margay, and a jaguar, which we were able to pet. We howled with a tribe of wild howler monkeys and fed Belize’s national animal, the tapir!

Today, we had another unbelievable adventure! We visited beautiful Mayan ruins where we experienced an unBELIZEable panoramic view. We could see miles and miles of vegetation! It was truly amazing.
Afterwards, we shopped at local stores and bought cute souvenirs like hand-woven bunny bags and bamboo-slit drums. We ate at a local restaurant and then drove two and a half hours to the Mayan Cultural Center. During the drive, we saw awe-inspiring landscapes and were able to have some relaxing down-time with each other. Could it get any better? Yes! As soon as we arrived at our current destination, we saw a flock of toucans, the country’s national bird!

The food is great, the people are even better! Belize has been even more marvelous than I expected! Can’t wait for tomorrow when we get to start our service trip!

Until next post, Tomiko! J (P.S. the videos and photos are supplied by Jamie)                

Hi guys!

We are having TONS of fun! We all have nick names for each other- Tomiko is Tokyo, Jamie is Jaime (himay), Julia is Julia (hulia), Abbie is chupacabre, Yaritza is Yaritza (churiza), Amanda is grasshopper, Mrs. Conti is Pamster, and Mr. Hartwell is Enrique/ Mr. Crabtree/ Mr. Bridges/ Mr. Swiger. (We can’t remember his name.) We are all working on being quiet, but that is not working out so well.

As of this moment, our favorite activities are getting toilet paper out of used toilets and sharing stories. We are all looking forward to finding grouper, grouper, grouper, groupers!

P.S. Enrique is enjoying his delectable banana, and Pamster is being attacked by Tokyo (the paparazzi). And don’t worry- the World Leadership Foundation has been serving us purified water and all the food has been washed with the same, so we are safe. Much love, Abbie!

Hello everyone! (Yaritza here)
So far everything has been great till we tried to upload a video onto the blog! We will continue trying to share videos, but we hope you enjoy the photos at least!
P.S. how's Grandma?
Until next post! Much love, Yaritza

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Group in Belize!

Hi everyone! I just heard from Javier, the WLS instructor and the group has safely arrived in Belize. They are heading to the Tropical Education Center where they will relax and stay for the evening. They will update the blog soon. Please call 303.679.3412 with any questions!

Erin Lasky
Director of Operations


Pegasus send off at LAX...bags packed, checked in and ready to go. Have a great time!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pegasus School first skype session with our fearless leader, Javier Cano

The Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, California is going to Belize!
Six Middle School Students and two faculty teachers leave on February 15, 2013and return February 24, 2013.
We will be working in the Maya Center Elementary School helping to build a playground for the students.  We are excited to experience the Mayan culture and can't wait to work with the kids!
We've raised over $1,500 to help buy supplies for the playground project and to purchase things like school supplies, soccer balls and playground equipment for the Mayan children.  We also look forward to studying climate change at the Smithsonian research station on Carrie Bow Caye, on the barrier reef, off the coast of Belize.
The picture above is our first skype session with World Leadership School's Javier Cano, our fearless and knowledgeable leader on the ground for this trip.  Stay tuned for more information as we begin our journey of service, leadership, and cultural immersion in Belize!