Column: I’ll never forget about Belize


Public relations junior Paige Carter twirls the jump rope around for the children in Belize. Carter was one of 12 Loyola athletes who went on the trip. Photo credit: Rev. Ted Dziak S.J.

Paige Carter

Traveling, living and working with 11 other athletes from Loyola in the beautiful country of Belize was truly one of the best experiences of my life. The living conditions, summer camp and sightseeing are memories that I will never forget.

For three weeks, we ran a summer camp in Dangriga, Belize. All 12 of us had our own classroom. I taught the youngest group of kids who were between four and five years old. In the mornings, we taught the kids English, math and arts and crafts. In the afternoons, we taught them sports like soccer, volleyball and basketball. With the younger ones, we played jump rope, Duck, Duck, Goose and they always wanted to race me. Teaching the younger children was a challenge, but an enjoyable one.

My favorite activity in the classroom was reading a book to them. With the little ones, I was told it’s very important to be extra enthusiastic and overly exaggerated while reading. The most memorable time was when I read “The Rainbow Fish”. This was one of my childhood favorites that my family used to read to me. While I was reading, I thought about how I was once in their shoes; sitting on the ground amazed by the sparkly pictures and feeling like I was a part of the book. I stopped frequently to ask questions and to keep them engaged. I loved seeing the kids come alive and get engaged with the book. Even though I felt as if I lost my voice everyday after reading, story time was the best part of the morning. I never pictured myself being in Belize holding a camp for kids, and I am so glad I decided to get involved with the amazing opportunities Loyola offers.

The relationships I have with the other athletes are unforgettable. Spending that time with the same people every part of the day may seem a lot. We even had to share one shower and two toilets which was challenging for the first couple of days, but we all got used to it and always kept a positive attitude. Everyone got along the whole trip.

We had a few routines we would do after camp for fun. After dinner, we all would walk to the basketball court. Lucky for us, the court was on the beach. Some of us played and the rest of us would either workout, cheer or sit on the beach and talk about whatever was on our minds. It was always nice for us to go because everyone went. Some nights when the lights were off, we would lay on the court and watch the stars. The sky was extremely clear, and we could see the constellations in a way you just can’t here in New Orleans. One night, I remember talking about wanting to see a shooting star and immediately after we all saw one.

When people ask about my experience, I say that it was indescribable. I can talk about a few things, but no one really knows the true experience unless they were there.

With all of this said, this trip would not have happened or been successful without the Rev. Ted Dziak S.J. He was the heart of this trip. I am blessed to have been a part of this trip with a vibrant group of athletes.