that I too have a witchy side
Nothing to hide.
But the doctrine I've taken
Gets my soul a shakin'
And fearing God's wrath
If I were to act....
I am meeting new people every day. As the entire country's population totals out at something like 300K, I guess it's an entire country of one big small town. Traditional Mayans, Guarifina, Creole, Mennonite...these cultures have not had science take away from the knowledge of the ages.
The Mennonites live without the use of modern machines, and they have built the largest (perhaps only) dairy and farming business/community in Belize. They produce enough milk, cheese, and even ice cream to supply the country. They have ability to grow crops that the average farmer in Belize can not grow. Potatoes for example...The climate here is not conducive to potato farming...but you can buy potatoes from the Mennonites. Years of farming this land have given them experience enough to expand the farm! The Mennonite houses are also 'Da Bomb! They do a prefabricated home similar to the one I blogged about previously. Except their home comes to your site unassembled. (They will then put it together on your site.) The houses they build are sturdy enough to survive hurricanes! And sensible enough to make the best of what nature has given. Most Mennonite homes are built on stilts. If you ask 10 people why the homes are built on stilts, you will get 10 answers. Some will say because of flood waters, others say it's to keep the critters down below. But the Mennonite I asked....The Mennonite said it was so that there is a place to plant shade crops. Smart.
The Guarifina and the Creole are still tough for me to tell apart. In the states race is based solely on skin color...here heritage also plays a role. I must say...THAT's what's up! I never could take one look at a person and tell what color they are! Here...it matters as much where your ancestors came from as what you look like today. US...take note.
The Guarifina have a celebration in November each year here in Dangriga. There is a high population of Guarifina and it's sort of a Founder's Day party! I have seen pictures if the people reenacting the boats landing on the shore, but I look forward to being there when it happens this year. Even if we end up moving inland, or to another community, I WILL be back in Dangriga for that! I wouldn't miss it for the world!
The Creoles...The Creoles are able to make things happen. My faith in God and the Bible is strong, so I worry that too much admiration of the voodoo will in essence "sell my soul"...but I see how it could happen. I was made privy to some of the rituals of the Creole people. P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L.! I think I might take my chances and explore this further....
The Mayans....Wow. The Mayans sort of scare me. Theirs is the most ancient of cultures I have ever seen firsthand. I have never known a people with traditions dating back 3000 years before Christ. Imagine! These folks have been living in the same mountains in the same way for 5000 years! Physically, Mayans are easy for me to spot. They are tiny little people...most don't reach even 5 feet tall! But their presence in a room is gigantic! I have always prided myself on that charisma...that presence...I felt like when I took control of a group that my personality became larger than life. These folks have it in spades! More charisma, more presence, more...just more. I have been warned by my new Mayan friends to never touch things near the ruins. As I do not know the culture like the Mayans do, I will never know what is sacred, and what is not. Best to leave it all alone until someone hands something to me. I have also been warned to never take pictures of the Mayans. I want to know more and more about what they know, so I will follow these simple rules as I gain trust. The Mayans have lost so much in the last 30 years...The children are speaking Creole and dressing like westerners to the heavy disappointment of their elders. The opportunists of the scientific community have removed their artifacts, and put signs to the temples. Such a destruction of the culture in a drop of time! I hope to learn from them without ever trying to take.
There are some Mayan settlements that are not accessible by road. You either hike through the jungle or kayak up the river to them. My Mayan friend has promised to take me there one day, and I will patiently wait until I have built enough trust. The Creoles say that there are Mayan settlements that they only approach naked. Seriously...They will strip off their clothing completely and navigate the jungle so that when they approach these settlements they come in as vulnerable children. Clothing of today's world is only proof that one is of today's world. My Creole friend told a story of approaching the settlement with no clothing on, and still being asked to bend down and open his mouth for the elder Mayan to look inside and be sure that there was nothing hidden in there. These settlements are high in the Mayan Mountains. There is rumored to be gold mines, silver streaks, and jade. After the destruction of the entire culture in such a short time, I don't blame the Mayans for hiding these places...Keeping them unspoiled and untouched. Although it offends our western senses, if asked, I would PROUDLY walk naked into the jungle for inspection by the Mayan elders. I sort of hope to get the chance one day.
And the voodoo of the Creoles pales in comparison to the Mayans...(It is not called voodoo by the Mayans.) But they Mayans can curse a soul worse than anything our "cultured" minds could imagine! They have survived for centuries in the harshest of jungles. Smaller in stature than even some of the Jaguars, yet HUGE! There are stories of Mayan curses that cause bugs to pour from one's ears...Many places in the jungle sacred enough that westerners just never come back from them. DO NOT defile Mayan land. DO NOT anger Mayan folks.
There are stories of a Guarifina boy who stole from a Mayan at school. (Children are children everywhere.) When the Mayan family came to ask about the offense the Guarifina denied any wrongdoing. The Mayan elder knew the Guarifina boy was lying. Within the week, the Guarifina boy and three others who stood by while the lie was told...just dropped dead. It's hard to charge someone with a crime that involved no physical contact. Everyone knew it was the Mayan who cursed them, and it now serves as a warning to the children. A sort of nursery tale for Central America...
Believe it can happen. Belize Something.