Sunday, June 13, 2010
Barton Creek Outpost
I have been at the outpost for almost a week now. The outpost is a beautiful place in the jungle on Barton Creek where backpackers can relax and enjoy the scenery. The basic idea of the outpost is to appreciate what nature has to offer. Showers and laundry are done in the creek. Water is also pumped from the creek for toilet and kitchen water. Electricity is only available when the generator is on for a few hours each day. All scraps of food are either fed to the dogs or put in the compost. I fall asleep in my open air loft to the sound of rushing creek water, and wake up when the sun rises. We eat fresh herbs and fruits picked from the jungle. Dinner is eaten by lantern light, and we often cook with head lamps in the kitchen. There are two rope swings that entertain us daily. After a hard work day in the jungle I climb the rocks, grip the rope, swing out as far as I can, and plunge into the refreshing creek water.
As a volunteer I start a list of chores at 7:30 am consisting of sweeping, taking out the compost, feeding the animals, wiping down tables, and cleaning bathrooms. Other work is assigned for late morning/early afternoon, and we also help prepare each meal. There are six volunteers at the moment. I'm fortuante to be accompanied by such a great group. Right now we have Jacky from canada, Alisha from Florida, Evan from Australia, and Adrianne and Shane from New Hampshire. Some projects we've been working on include digging up sand from the creek to make a nicer beach, planting tropical plants in the nursery, clearing hiking trails, using rocks from the creek for landscaping around the outpost, and tending to the needs of guests. The volunteers, kids of the outpost owners, and guests all eat dinner around the lantern lit table at night overlooking the creek. Here, stories are shared about where we've been, what we've learned, and where we're heading. I've met many great familes, couples, and solo travelers.
The list of things I've experienced at the outpost is far from complete. So far, I've toured natural spring pools, cliff jumped off the side of a 75 foot waterfall, saw a Mayan jail, used a machete, ate a termite, went canoeing down the creek, and learned how to start a generator. I've also enjoyed meals and conversation with the housekeeper, Eva, who is from a village of 600 and walks an hour and a half to work at the outpost four times a week. Whether relaxing in a hammock reading about rainforest medicine remedies, eating delicious home cooked meals, laughing with other volunteers, or eating fresh tropical fruit while watching toucans in the coconut trees...every bit has been beyond enjoyable.
I was just invited to sell art with Mega from Rasta Mesa at Lobsterfest in Placencia in a couple weeks. Lobsterfest is a huge celebration that Belizeans go crazy about every year. I'm ecstatic to be able to experience the festival, and of course, help out. Only great things to look forward to!!
Here is a poem titled You Must Give that was written by an elderly man living in San Pedro. He gave his poem collection to Nesta, a guest at the outpost.
Love is the magnificent positive.
Love is the driver that makes you live.
Each dawn you awake and you begin.
A tangible life strength built within.
Love is produced within the soul.
Expanding pressures go on a roll.
Surplus quantities are wildly generated.
These pressures must be ventilated.
Loving overcomes internal stress.
Endowing the love nevertheless.
The major gift is your intent.
Courage is needed to give consent.
Love is an entity you must bestow.
You purchase and secure the mistletoe.
Tenderness of thought is affirmative.
Love is something you must give.