Belize Travel Notice – Health & Safety
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International Volunteer at the Iguana Conservation Project

On day one I entered the San Ignacio Hotel with Chris Minty and was welcomed by Mr Dave Cryer who is from Scotland. I didn't expect the Iguana project to be in the back gardens of the hotel. Dave introduced me to Eddie and Roberto who would teach me about the iguanas. My first job was to scrub down the large enclosure which made me sweat a lot. Eddie, Roberto and I then went foraging for some food for the iguanas. We found some sweet potato vines which was a real treat for them. Eddie then introduced me to Gomez the reserve mascot and the largest captive iguana in San Ignacio. Eddie took me for lunch and we had fried chicken and mashed tatties which was delicious. The guys at the reserve then treated me to some black mangoes, my new favourite type of mango, which are small and sweet. After lunch I assisted Eddie with tours with the reserve but wasn't confident enough to answer any questions but I helped take photos of people holding iguanas. I left at four o'clock when Eddie was called on the radio to tell me to leave as I had lost track of time.

On the second day I was a lot more helpful with the tours and answered the questions that I could. He let people feed the iguana chia which has spines a bit like nettles and stung me on the hands. Lunch was a traditional Mayan chicken soup and tortillas. Roberto wasn't in as he was ill so I took over his role at the reserve. My big job was to collect and count the baby iguanas. It took two hours and I counted 104 babies and only two were unwell. This was a good sign that the reserve's breeding programme is a success. After lunch I was interviewed by two of the San Ignacio Hotel's marketing staff. Stephanie and Mrs Trinity asked me about my experience of Belize so far. They also inquired about Scotland and asked a lot of questions. The interview lasted about two hours and afterwards I took Stephanie to the reserve to take some photographs. Chris Minty arrived at 4pm to take me back to Clarissa Falls for a feed and a good night's sleep.

Day three we had to get the public bus which was packed and we had to stand. We got off the bus after ten minutes and walked a short way to the San Ignacio Hotel. I started by clearing the large enclosure of chia twigs and washing the mud and iguana poop off the floor. It took quite a while. Lunch was BBQ chicken and tortillas which was delicious. After lunch Eddie and I took the company van to find some sweet potato vines. We drove around the residential areas asking locals if we could take the vines which were growing on their garden fences. Most people were pleased and allowed us to take their sweet potato vines. In the afternoon I assisted Eddie with the tours and answered most of the questions given to me by 'inquisitive' American tourists. I was then picked up at 4pm after another hard day's work.

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