f there was ever a question whether members of the Chaminade Julienne community and the less fortunate children living in Belize were on the same team, this summer’s mission trip participants removed all doubt.
Thanks in part to a donation by the men’s soccer program, CJ students and chaperones were able to give teams at the St. Peter Claver Primary School in Punta Gorda their first set of matching uniforms. The young “futbolistas” donned their new duds – blue shorts and green tops emblazoned with a soaring Eagle – while kicking the ball around with their high school “teammates” from Dayton, Ohio.
Sixteen current students and recent grads made the roughly 1,600 mile trip June 10-16, accompanied by chaperones Amy O’Loughlin, science teacher; Jama Badinghaus, guidance counselor; and Dr. Steve Huffman, CJ parent.
Their service learning journey to the country’s southern-most city along the coast of the Gulf of Honduras included games of soccer and activities such as:
- Teaching and interacting with local children during leadership camps
- Purifying and delivering clean drinking water to schools, in addition to teaching about the dangers of unsanitary water sources
- Painting school walls, tables and playground equipment that had been vandalized by graffiti
- Donating books to a school library
- Shopping, zip-lining, tubing and swimming at local hotspots
- Taking part in the ancient Mayan process of making fresh chocolate during a visit to Cyrila’s Chocolate Factory (learn more at www.cyrilaschocolate.org)
- Sharing dinner with others serving in the region as part of outreach by the Jesuit Volunteers International
- And, celebrating Mass at a Nazareth retreat center with Pallotine Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate.
The week-long cultural immersion experience is one of the school's three annual summer mission trip offerings. It was the fourth consecutive year CJ students traveled to Belize since the school first started offering international service learning trips in the summer of 1998. In that time, groups have also traveled to locations including Mexico, Guatemala and Trinidad.