Today was our last full day at Liberty. With the majority of projects wrapped up, Ryan and I still had our work cut out for us with the trench. Not only did we have to dig out another twenty-five or so feet of earth, but also we had to redistribute the dug up mixture of concrete-esque dirt and clay so that it would fall back into the trench during they rainy season. In order to get this task done, Luke, Tessa, Nicole, and Cat put on the gloves and picked up their shovels, and took to the mound of dirt. We all earned our keep (and our tans) today by digging, shoveling, and raking the dirt. We got it done, and hopefully the trench helps to keep the water level at bay during the rainy season. Beaten, battered, bruised, and bitten by ants and mosquitoes, we made our way home to freshen up and headed to dinner to enjoy our final night in Belize. Today was a good day.
After enjoying our last breakfast in Belize, we made our way to Liberty to spend a couple of hours with the kids before we left for the airport. Luke, Cal, and I played a few pick up games of basketball with some of the older kids. Even though Team Liberty beat us all three games, we had a phenomenal time playing with the kids. After a couple of hours, we unfortunately had to say our goodbyes and make our way to the airport. The smiles on the kids’ faces will forever be engrained in our memories.
Our trip to Belize has come to a close, and it’s crazy to think about how quickly the time has passed. A week ago today, we had all truly met for the first time at the airport, unsure of what exactly was in store for all of us in Belize. We were all asked at the beginning of the trip to think about the question, “What is the point?” Why spend the money to travel over 2,800 miles and increase our carbon footprint when the money can be used to pay locals to do the same work we did? I came up with an answer that I feel helps to justify the trip and answer the question we were asked nine days ago:
Expand our perspective – We can read about what’s going on in other places around the world, but what sort of insight does that truly give us? How can we begin to understand the world for what truly is without having experienced the world for ourselves? Words, after all, are only one person’s perspective, which inherently implies bias towards an experience. Participating in humanitarian trips, such as our trip to Belize, helps to expand our limited perspective. Trips like this help to broaden our outlook on the world by allowing us to venture outside of our safety bubbles and experience a small glimpse of what is truly going on in the world. These trips provide us with a different lens in which to view the world, to see the world through a different perspective, even though it’s only for a moment out of the scheme of our entire lives. All it takes is a moment—the right moment—to change our perspective.
Italian poet Cesare Pavese eloquently said, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Although our time in Belize was brief and only but a moment in the entirety of our existence, each of our relative perspectives was altered. With an altered—and improved—perspective, one can begin to open the door to understanding their position in the world. And, with a better understanding of one’s position in the world, they can begin to inflict change on the world, one moment at a time. That is the point.