Going into this trip I knew that we were going to be teaching CPR, first aid, concussion training, and injury evaluation, but what I didn't know was how needed our skills were. I realized that as athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals working in the United States we take for granted the luxuries that we have. Most high schools in my area of DFW have at least two athletic trainers, multiple AED's, and countless mandatory training opportunities. The group of educators and coaches that we were responsible for training over the next four days were incredibly grateful and engaged in everything we covered.
We would have a daily team meeting in the dining area of our hotel over breakfast every morning to eat and discuss the days plans. I have to say that our team, led by Paul Waller, worked incredibly well together and stayed on mission for the entire trip. After breakfast we would load up and head over to the National Soccer Headquarters for the Belize national soccer teams. This is where we met and taught every day. Day 1 consisted of CPR and AED training and one of the students whose name was Ryan said something to me that will stick with me forever. After a full day of teaching Ryan thanked us for everything we covered that day than he said to me "I would love to be able to help my students more but I cannot do what I do not know." That hit me hard because I realized then that our presence there was absolutely right and we were doing good work.
Our team would teach for about four hours then we would break for lunch. Our driver would pick us up from the Football HQ and take us to the market everyday. We ate at the same outdoor cafe and had the daily special everyday. The daily special was rice and beans, home made potato salad, a stewed meat of some kind, and a fried plantain. It was absolutely delicious! After our bellies were full we would head back to the HQ to teach for another 4 hours or so. After we were done for the day we would head back to the hotel and get the AC cranking in our rooms while we relaxed with a cold drink and a snack of fry jacks and refried beans.
We continued this routine for four days with a team dinner each night. We had the opportunity to meet the mayor of the capital city so he could personally thank us for the work we were doing. Each experience was more incredible than the other. On the last day we headed out early in the morning for the island of Caye Caulker for a final day of reward for the long week of hard work.