March 25, 2015: Day 5 In Belize by Luke

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 8:39 AM PDT

Another full day at the Liberty Children's Home. We woke this morning to yet another spectacular breakfast from Ms. Virginia. Eggs, refried beans, sausage, homemade tortillas, and freshly squeezed orange juice. So dangerous! I haven't decided whether I like sleeping in the hammock outside with the cool breeze or in one of several beds inside. Either way, I'm excited to wake up every morning in Belize. This morning, the old director of Liberty, Delfina, joined us for breakfast and conversation. We introduced ourselves and it was nice to catch up on where to find the local blackberry wine, I must admit, I had to know. 

We arrived at Liberty at 9am as usual. However, the plan today was to work a little bit more than typical to gain way on our projects. The past few days I have been jumping around from project to project to help the other students out but I really enjoy working with Michael on all the mechanical repairs. Since our first full day at Liberty, Michael and I have been working together in the rec room, ripping open arcade games and coin rides to modify them as simply as possible. The kids enjoyed hanging out with us and learning a thing or two about electrical; it was nice to interact one-on-one with them. 

First, we tested and made sure we knew which machines worked and which did not. Then we modified each machine so no coins had to be used by the kids to allow them to function. The goal of the machines was to allow them to play by a simple plug in and a flick of a switch. Today, I assisted Michael by assembling outlets for 220V power, the needed voltage for the machines to run. By the middle of the day, we had one arcade game and an arcade ride up and running (The rec room turned into chaos)! The kids were so excited to take a turn on the Ninja Turtle car ride and play a game or two on the Street Fighter arcade game. As a mechanical engineering major, I loved getting the hands on experience working out of the classroom and in the real world, helping the kids at Liberty. 

Chris and Ryan continued their hard work in the trench while Cat helped shovel away the excess clay into the uneven spots of land. The clay is so tough and heavy, that if you threw a piece at a tree, the clay would stick! Tessa and Nicole finished their project in the library and moved onto staining the porch and stairs of the old library-turned-guesthouse. After completing that project, they headed to the upstairs of the rec room to sort and organize the clothes for the kids, stumbling upon geico eggs and cockroaches. At the end of the day, we all gathered together at the trench to shovel clay into the wheelbarrow and haul it off to wherever needed. 

My favorite part of the day was seeing all the kids jump on the machines after they returned from school. Although hard at first, they quickly learned how to take turns and wait to make sure everybody had an equal opportunity. I have grown a stronger relationship with these kids each and every day, and I'm glad to know that the work I do here at Liberty really makes a difference. The time spent in Belize has exceeded my expectations personally, allowing me to do work in the engineering field, while improving the lives of others.

~Luke