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My First Experience in Belize – and Certainly Not My Last

Posted by Rachel Jensen on Nov 27, 2012 3:33:28 PM
Rachel Jensen

I read Grand Baymen’s Belize handbook as an intern in June of this year, and that is when my strong interest, I’d even label it as an obsession, in Belize began. I read all about how the real estate and tourism market were booming, about the large variety of exciting adventure activities, and about the beautiful beaches. And then I saw the pictures. I fell Grand Baymen Belize in love. The pictures of Belize, Ambergris Caye in particular, were absolutely remarkable – the turquoise waters, the colorful, quaint town of San Pedro, and golf carts as a popular means of transportation – it all seemed too good to be true! So, in August when my boss informed me that our November Conference was taking place on the island, I was ecstatic.

Instantly Upon Arriving in San Pedro, I Could Sense the Strong Feeling of Community

It all began with my cab driver, Carlos, who warmly welcomed me to his homeland. Then, not more than ten minutes after being at the hotel, Kate Corrigan, my co-planner for the conference who works at Caye Bank, showed up at my door to greet me! The following day, I met Kelly, my other co-planner and manager of Exotic Caye Beach Resort, along with her staff, all who also enthusiastically welcomed me to San Pedro. My comfort level skyrocketed; within the span of only hours, I went from arriving alone to a foreign country, to being surrounded by truly friendly and accommodating people.

The Sense of Community Only Continued to Grow Stronger as the Conference Progressed

Shelley Huber our local, daily breakfast caterer from Mestizo Bistro, spoke to the conference at large about Mama Vilmas, a San Pedro non-profit organization. She explained the aim of this organization, which is to provide a safe haven for the battered, abused, and neglected women and children of the island. To date, a day care facility for young children has been established to help single mothers who have to work during the day. But because there are many costs involved in properly running a facility, and since the flow of cash has been inconsistent, the organization has been at a standstill. After speaking to our group, Shelley received positive feedback from our attendees and speakers, and even from our very own Grand Baymen, all who generously contributed to Mama Vilmas. On the left, from left to right, is a photo of Lamani in Belize Kelly German, Shelley Huber, Kate Corrigan, me, and Mike Cobb. We are all tremendous supporters of Shelley’s organization, and wish her nothing but success. For more information on Mama Vilmas, be sure to check out their website: www.mamavilmasfamilyhome.com.

Another one with a big heart is Kelly, who recommended that I escape from my work for a day to enjoy a leisure day in Belize. No way was I going to refuse that suggestion. I was given a choice of many different day-adventure activities, such as cave tubing, zip-lining, deep-sea fishing, touring of the Mayan ruins, all of which sounded extremely enticing. However, I decided the most appropriate option would be to explore the Mayan ruins being that the Mayan calendar ends in approximately one month.  On Monday, I set off to the Belize mainland with 4 other conference attendees, all of who also extended their stay on the island, to tour the Mayan site of Lamani!

The Lamani Site was Absolutely Unbelievable

We were amidst a dense jungle with howler monkeys calling to each other overhead, and 3,000+ year-old structures surrounding us. I felt like I was on the set of “Legends of the Hidden Temple” (I’m a 90s kid). On the right is a picture of me at the site with Rod, a conference attendee.

The ruins aside, the most memorable part of this Mayan ruins experience was when my shoe broke. Yes, I understand that may sound strange, but keep reading. So, the rubber sole of my flip-flop separated from the bottom of my shoe. I was trudging along, when Roberto, our very knowledgeable tour guide, picked up an avocado-looking seed from the Masaya Volcano ground. Using his handy pocketknife, he made a small slice in the foreign object, and gushing out came white goo. He applied it to my rubber sole and bottom of my shoe, pressed the two together, and voila, my shoe was fixed! He explained this plant, nicknamed “horse’s balls,” (the avocado-looking seeds are grown in pairs, use your imagination from here) is used to make glue. Five days later, and my shoe is still in tact.. that must be some quality organic glue!

My overall experience at Lamani, and at the Hemispheres Conference reinforced the fact that there is much more to the world then we perceive, all you have to do is get out there. Yes, I’ve heard of the great Mayan ruins and saw photos in the Belize handbook. Yes, I’ve heard about asset protections conferences. Yes, I’ve heard that there are non-profit organizations out there that need support. But actually going to the ruins site, attending and speaking at an asset protection conference, and physically meeting Shelley, all helped me to get a better grasp on life, and the meaning behind it. Life isn’t easy to describe, but to me, in a nutshell, it’s about learning, exploring, not taking for granted,being open-minded, and most importantly doing what makes you happy.

My First Time in Belize is One I Will Always Treasure

The comfort I felt while on the island, the fantastic people I met, the beautiful atmosphere, are all factors that make me eager to return to Ambergris Caye. I am already looking forward to my trip back in March for Hemispheres’ President’s Week Conference, and already trying to decide which adventure activity to do next!

In the meantime, Hemispheres Publishing will be hosting their Central America Advantage Investment Symposium in Managua, Nicaragua (my current home!) on January 15-18th, 2013. I recommend that anyone who is interested in making smart investments and asset protection, join us for this fantastic opportunity! In addition to the seminars, you will have the chance to explore Nicaraguaby visiting Masaya Volcano, spending a day at Gran Pacifica resort, and volunteering at a local school. Let this conference be the life-changing conference that the Global Asset Protection Symposium was for me.

A fun story: A few days ago when I mentioned to one speaker that it was only appropriate that I visited the Mayan ruins before the end of the world on December 21st, 2012, he responded with something along the lines of, “don’t be silly, you have another conference in January.” What I took from his response was that the world is going to continue turning because Hemispheres Publishing is still hosting conferences. Well, that works for me!

Please feel free to contact me via email. I hope to hear from you, and I look forward to meeting you in January.

Topics: Vacationing in Belize

Rachel Jensen

Written by Rachel Jensen

Ms. Jensen is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for ECI Development, a regional development company based throughout Latin America in Costa Rica, Belize, Panama and Nicaragua. In addition, Ms. Jensen is the Vice President of Business Development for Hardwoods Unlimited, Ltd. Alongside the CEO, Ms. Jensen structured the Teak for Residency Program in both Panama and Nicaragua to assist those looking to pair up a residency with alternative options outside of their home countries.