San Ignacio, Belize-Upper Barton Creek, Belize
“How can we be a light to the world and a salt to the earth if we are the same as they”
Today was the day that I came here for, the co-op begins. We started off with picking up Mary, then headed to Upper Barton Creek to meet with the Martin family. From Cristo Rey village we headed deeper into the jungle away from San Ignacio, passing huge mountains and ravines, going through San Antonio Village (home of Don Elijio Panti) and eventually reaching an incredible Mennonite-dense community.
This is the first time that I have been to a Mennonite settlement, and what I saw was downright breathtaking…the simplicity of their natural life was something that I can’t wait to achieve on my own farm. On the way up their driveway, we met a Mennonite man who said the quote above, his vision for a natural life and dedication to his land was a quality that needs to be spread throughout the world. I love their way of life and thinking.
After making it to their property, we took a quick tour and got to know the family…some of the most incredible kids I have ever met. Titus, a 13-year-old farmer in the making grew some incredibly beautiful green peppers that most would dream of, and most important of all they weren’t sprayed with a single thing… “The way God intended” the family continually mentioned. We received a wide variety of crops from these guys for our co-op: Callaloo (A native green, super delicious), Mint, Spinach, Cassava (a native root that can be used like a potato or made into gluten-free flour), beans, basil, eggplant, and much more. I love being on farms, it at the top of my list of goals to achieve before 30. The most interesting thing was talking to them about the natural medicines that they utilize from their property for everything from fevers to sinus infections.
After getting the truck loaded with our produce, we headed to the Car wash across from the San Ignacio to set up a tent and split the food into shares for members to pick up. This was our first week so things were a bit bumpy but everyone got their shares who needed them and we were all good. The variety even surprised us, we had much more than we expected to have for round 1. Just as 4 o ‘clock hit and it was time to pack up, a rain storm came and signaled us to hurry our clean up and call it a day. We took down the tent, packed up the remaining veggies and headed back to the lodge.
I am getting a wide variety of practice while I am here, just today I gained experience at the farm buying the products, transporting them, selling to members, and also after the co-op ended I had to weigh the remaining produce to sell them to the lodge. I weighed the leftovers and created an invoice for what got rid of after the day was over. All of these things add to the experience that I am gaining, they all will help me in the future regardless of the field I head into.
One thing I have missed since I have been down here is always being in the kitchen and cooking, tonight I got my dose of food prep. I made some of the beans that I bought from Mr. Martin, some fresh kale, and added a bunch more stuff to make a salad. I had one plate of a salad with garbanzo beans, pepper, onion, tomato, cucumber, pico, and much more. I made a second plate of steamed kale, peppers, onions, and chicken with a side of beans and a glass of sorrel juice.
My adventures at the lodge are providing me the opportunity to meet so many interesting people that I would’ve never met before, one of my favorite people so far is Scott. He is the type of person who I feel like I have known for years, an EMT and hospital employee who has awesome stories and similar interests. I like the ability to converse with people who stay here, the best part is when I hear, “Yeah I have been reading into some of the stuff you’ve been talking about and I am definitely going to make some health changes” this is not my intention but I guess it is just the aura that I give off. It’s such a good feeling to know that my passion can influence and maybe even benefit the lives of the people I come into contact with. It’s all part of my journey, and this journey just keeps getting better.
I got a cool invitation today for Thursday morning, I will be planting sweet potatoes with Dennis, an organic farmer who farms close to the lodge. This will be my first real adventure on a farm doing work, more learning that I will utilize in the future. Tomorrow we head back to Nana Mensah’s farm in Belmopan to learn about natural Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fungicides.