Photo Essay Contest 2012

Anna Frantz

Anna Frantz

Essay

Saturday, January 7th, 2012: Ya Betta Belize It!

A Journal Entry Expressing the Impact of Belize’s Culture and People by Anna Frantz

Living History: the Altun Ha Ruins

Though I went to Belize to better the lives of children, exploring the culture was one of the key wonders I took away from my ten transformational days abroad. The journey began by walking through vast, crisp greens golf resorts could only dream of owning. Our tour guide showed off three bleached but impressive ruins that took shape and function for the Mayans as a compass rose. When we turned around to survey the area, we found ourselves gawking at the surprise main attraction! To our left was the most magnificent temple I had ever seen, and for a moment, I felt like I was walking through a geography textbook. The only thing cooler than viewing it was standing on its top, and near the edge of all places! It may have been scary, but it was worth it to see the world as the priests once did. Since we practically had the ruins to ourselves, it was hard not to feel a magical experience from living such vibrant history.

Caye Caulker: Another Cultural Daydream

Who would’ve thought an island small enough where everyone could circumnavigate town in golf carts would be the most beautiful place I ever saw? From staying in a hotel on the coast, to experiencing an array of decadent foods, including the best pineapple I’ve tasted, to snorkeling in the crystal clear Caribbean waters, the Cayes were the perfect place to evaporate worry. Nature is truly one of earth’s best aesthetic pleasures.

Orphanages: A Blunt Reminder that I am Blessed

At first, it was a scary experience to see where we would be volunteering at the orphanages. The first one we visited was Liberty Children’s Home, and because it was privately funded, it was about as close to paradise as the children could get. They were shy but sweet and enjoyed being near us, even when our complicated lessons backfired, and we had to resort to coloring. Unfortunately, Dorothy Menzies was a Hollywood interpretation of a Jewish ghetto, just without the grayscale. Despite this, the children here flocked to us and adored us like they didn’t know when they’d get another hug from a caring outsider. It made quite a few of us cry. Though we may not have made a world of difference to them, they impacted us for the rest of our lives. They reminded me that I have no real right to complain. I am blessed with a loving family and money; if they can smile without either of these, then I can certainly take on life’s challenges with hope instead of hostility. Without a doubt, the most important lesson learned from my time abroad was through the lives of these children. They were an inspiration to help and give when I can, and even though it may not be much, every thoughtful act of charity counts.

Photos

Photo 1
At the Altun Ha Ruins
This was the most magnificent ruin of them all. Many of us climbed it and took more pictures documenting a cherished memory way above the ground!

 

Photo 2
Behind the Ruin
Climbing up the tallest ruin sure was a feat for us, but the reward at the top was breathtaking!

 

Photo 3
Caye Caulker
This photograph was shot on the beach with my roommates; we were practically in the backyard of our hotel!

 

Photo 4
Liberty Children’s Home
A group shot of us after helping out at our first orphanage. It was a tough experience seeing how little the children had, but at the same time, we learned to appreciate the great lives we had. For me, this included helping out those less fortunate in my community.

 

Photo 5
King’s Orphanage
Another orphanage where we socialized with the children. One of our members brought masks for the children to design, and they sure loved that!