So what was supposed to be my first day in Belize was definitely not what I expected it to be and it was extremely stressful because I missed my connecting flight due to weather! Everything seemed to be fine until we arrived in Atlanta. We were told we were going to circle above the airport to wait out some bad weather. Unfortunately, we ended up landing in Savannah because we were going to run out of gas if we kept waiting the weather out. By the time we arrived in Atlanta, my flight to Belize was long gone. After speaking with my parents and Lauren, one of the coordinators of the CELA program, I stayed the night in Atlanta and caught a flight the next morning. While things did not go as planned, I learned you have to look on the bright side of things, since the weather could have caused more serious problems. I’m just grateful that I landed safely, and I ended up in Belize by the next morning!
Fortunately I did not miss much! I made it just in time to leave with everyone to see Xunantunich, an ancient Mayan archaeological site. The view was beautiful and it was a great way to start off my time in Belize!
Our first day actually starting the academic part of the program was Monday. We started off our day with a lecture from the director of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. He spoke a lot about the importance of the health of the national herd. Belize’s tractability system helps track the movement of the animals and the resulting spread of any possible disease. He also emphasized the I feel like a lot of people don’t realize how big a veterinarian’s impact is on our food industry and our economy, especially since I did not realize until I started pursuing veterinary medicine. A veterinarian’s role is not only to treat the animals we welcome as part of our family, but to also prevent and contain disease outbreaks that could devastate farmers and the agricultural economy.
After our lecture we learned about suturing and practiced on raw chicken thighs. I had no experience, so as I was practicing on this chicken leg I felt I never would be able to do it on a live animal. But as I progressed on, I felt I was getting the hang of it and it was starting to become more fun. Next thing you knew (literally just after a couple hours), I was helping suture a live dog! It was a nerve-wracking experience, but it was also really awesome! It was also the first time I have an injection to an animal which was cool too!