Saturday, July 17, 2010
I've put off writing about Rene because there's so much to tell that I haven't known quite where to start. He's a local man who has worked for us a couple of days a week since we bo't the land. He describes his family as Mestizo and Maya. He actually looks like a Mayan.
When we first purchased the land, nearly 5 years ago, it was totally impenetrable bush. Thru our realtor, we hired a man to cut down some bush so that when we made our next trip we'd be able to see our pig-in-a-poke. Well, we paid way too much for a really poor job. Lesson #1.
When driving up Paslow Falls Rd., we'd pass Hummingbird Hills and this gentleman was always working there and the place looked beautiful. One day we stopped to inquire about Neem trees that they had for sale. Come to find out, the owner's were in the States and Rene was taking care of things. Wow, he was working and the owner's were gone. We eventually got to know Mary & Fran of Hummingbird and when they cut Rene back in days, we asked him to work with us. What a blessing.
Over time, Rene has cleared much of our land, just with his machete, and then maintains it. He and his sons have put up our perimeter fencing and helped with almost all our projects. The lovely thing about him tho', is a mixed blessing. He loves to talk and tell stories. Of course, he knows that I love them, even when I've heard the same story before. He worked with a survey crew for 25 years, so has literally walked over most of Belize and has stories to go with most of it.
My real interest tho' are his stories about the lore of Belize. He tells about "the crying lady" and about the little elf who visits, especially when he's upset (the elf, not Rene). I don't think I've mentioned it, but like so many properties in Belize, we have a Mayan mound. We were actually quite upset when the land was cleared and we realized then that the road up to our entrance is over the top of the mound. We're not superstitious, but did wonder if this would be upsetting.
Dear Rene has told me so many times that this property is comfortable. He feels that the spirits are pleased with us and happy that we're here. He and his family have had some very hard times and he's told us that he would often come up here when things weren't going well, just to absorb the feeling of peace and comfort.
Rene doesn't claim to be a bush doctor, but he was raised around a grandfather who was Mayan and taught him so much about the bush. We told Rene that when he was clearing the bush, to save anything that was a healing plant. We now have quite a collection of bush medicine. He knows things that help your stomach, babies colic, sunburn, female and male problems, what to do for scorpion & snake bites and more. On the other hand, they go to the doctor for everything, which is really confusing to me. I've talked to him about that and I think that they've just been told, as we all have, that modern medicine is the only way to go. How crazy is that, when the medicine they say you should take today, they'll tell you causes some horrible problem tomorrow. These bush remedies have been around for centuries. He knows I'm interested, so he tells me when someone comes to him with a problem and he's able to help. He won't take pay, but tells them to pass it on.
Before we moved down, before we would leave here to go back to Oregon, we'd give Rene money to take care of expenses. On our next visit, he would show us his book where he'd document every penny he'd spent. We would also leave our old Trooper with him, which most everyone tho't was a huge mistake. Every time we returned to Belize, the Trooper would be waiting for us, washed and in good mechanical shape. It was a blessing for both us and Rene, as health issues had depleted their finances and they couldn't afford a vehicle.
Of course there are cultural difference between our families, but we feel so fortunate to have Rene as a friend. He shows us how to do things here, how and when to plant and has made our transition to living in Belize a much more safe and rewarding experience.
Thank you and God Bless, dear friend.