What a great invention a hammock is! It is 2:30 Belize time and I am as relaxed as any man deserves to be. After a mid-morning trip through the Belize Botanical Garden learning more about their mission- "to help to educate the Belize people about the beauty of their native plants.". They have been working to collect and grow as many types of native orchids as possible. While creating a showplace for organic agricultural practices. One thing they pride themselves on is the use of all organic pesticides and fertilizers like NIM, citrus oils, animal manure(including bat guano,) natural detergents, and so on. They are trying to teach the people of Belize many of the things they have, as a people, forgotten. Many of the ways of the ancient Mayans. The Mayans were farmers in the jungle. That is just what the BBG is demonstrating. Our walk was aimed at showing us the plants and to discuss what the Mayans used them for. Many plants have multiple uses-- food, medicines, building materials, etc. We were told that there are two types of palm used for thatching. One lasts about 5 or 6 years and one lasts 10-20 years. Both are becoming very expensive for the native people because so many resorts are using the Palm fronds for thatching resort buildings the price has sky rocketed. So now the local people have turned to tin roofs because they are more affordable. That does not seem right. We hiked to the Maya House to learn how to make tamales and cook chaya. We also made brooms from palm fronds and other jungle materials. All natural, all sustainable, functional and even beautiful. By the time the broom was finished, lunch was ready. Again, local, natural, sustainable, and beautiful! Where have we gone wrong? Of course I'm sure the actual answer involves people and space, but the concept needs to be brought up to the surface every now and again.
So here I sit(or lay, ) in a hammock, on a porch along the Macal River, in the Cayo District of Western Belize. On a lazy afternoon in early August-- more relaxed than any man has a right to be.
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