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Travel Stories – Massage Training in the Jungles of Belize – Belize Lullabies

During my stay in Maskall I explore the area. On one of my excursions, I’m scheduled to go on a boat ride with William, a fifteen-year-old Belizean river guide. First I must bring him a spark plug. His outboard motor won’t start.

We drive in our air-conditioned 4×4 on the dirt road between Bomba, William’s village and Maskall. It is a series of cavernous grooves. barely passable! We have two floors on the way. It takes two hours to drive five miles. Wild hysterical laughter echoes around us. Look, up in the treetops. The monkeys are laughing at us! Torrential rains during the rainy season sometimes cause severe washouts of roads. Making boats a much easier means of transportation.

William shows me his house, a cabin on stilts facing the sea. In Belize it is not uncommon for a teenager to build his own house with the help of family and friends. William’s family gave him the land. Property is inherited, usually never bought or sold among the locals.

The Maya disapprove of any material display of wealth. They think it causes envy. The idea of ​​Cargo, or community service, is especially dear to them. Charging is an acceptable way for a person to spend excess wealth.

After replacing the spark plug, William’s little powerboat starts easily. Leaving Bomba Village behind, we cruise down the calm Northern River towards the Caribbean Sea. Water lilies float serenely on the river’s brown waters and silvery rays of light occasionally make their way through the greenish-green upper canopy. The air is sweet and gently caresses my bare arms.

After a two-hour cruise on the North River we arrive at its mouth in the Caribbean Sea. Braving the choppy waters for a short distance, we are finally greeted by a small open hut by the sea. We relaxed, lounging on the little crooked pier jutting out into the sea and in hammocks hanging from the surrounding coconut trees, eating juicy, ripe mangoes. It’s a delicious afternoon!

My day of adventure leaves me hungry and tired. Back at Pretty See Jungle Ranch, I enjoy a tasty Caribbean meal of grilled sea bass, rice, beans, and salad with a slice of Carla’s coconut cake for dessert. Carla is the Belizean cook at Pretty See Jungle Ranch. Throughout the day, Carla sings the songs of her town’s ancestors and shares with me many stories about her culture and way of life.

Every afternoon Pedro, the night watchman, passes by my hut, whistling. He’s letting me know it’s time to turn off the lights. Soon the ranch’s generator will be turned off. Pedro patrols the grounds of Pretty See Jungle Ranch every night with his loaded shotgun and a head lamp, placed above his head, to see into the shadows of the dark night. Pedro keeps us safe from wild animals like the jaguar. In the morning, Pedro will whistle again as he passes my thatched-roof hut and hands me a cup of freshly brewed Belizean coffee with a garnish of brown sugar and rich cream. A new day in paradise will have dawned at Pretty See Jungle Ranch.

Tonight the Belizean night breeze is softly scented. In the distance the drums roll, rhythmically. I watch a giant zebra-striped armored insect as it crawls, out of the gauze netting that surrounds my bed. I listen as a lullaby of night sounds in unison sings me to sleep.

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