And here's the third installment...
ONE OF THOSE PERFECT MOMENTS...
The weather hasn't cleared here, so snorkeling was canx. Instead I biked home to drag Robert to Siene Bight (SANE bite)...a creole/Garifuna
village maybe 3 miles by wide clay road (read as, "a sticky brown Swiss cheese mud on a waffly path"). He had a HUGE time though as we found a great palapa serving up Belikins Stout while we waited out yet another tormento...then road over to Rum Point to wait out more of the same.
Today is Garifuna Settlement Day...a day of thanksgiving and liberation primarily celebrated in Dangriga, Belize. However, the Punta drums (24
hours of drum beating touching you at the most primal level) began at midnight last night and will continue until the wee hours today.
Garifuna Settlement Day is also celebrated in locales such as Sine Bight. The evening hours are
definitely an "adults only" affair with the Punta music (picture reggae hopped up on goofballs) becoming more and more (hmmm) instictive.
If I understand correctly, the evening culminates with the "Forbidden Dance". James, our Monkey River tour guide yesterday and a Creole from Sine Bight, thought that I'd really enjoy that! ;-) (Since I was still working off one of my nearly monthly groundings, Robert sequestered us during the late night hours. I SWEAR I've been REALLY good so far! Bubbles, you'd be proud! No Bosco'd strawberries in my navel, no nuttin'!)
At any rate, we peddled to Sine Bight around 10a, and I had my first official Belize tears of this year. To say Sine Bight is impoverished in an economic sense, would be an understatement. Conversely, there are scores beautiful, sometimes naked children in the streets playing with the town's dogs and chickens. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was celebrating life. In the downtown area, the drums continued.
At the point we arrived, the drummers were all
adolescent boys with maybe their mothers or sweethearts chanting in some foreign
patios (I'm guessing) of thier freedom. (The Belizean blacks are descendents of Caribes
who escaped or fled indenture. On this day, the Garifuna celebrate their landing on Belize...and also celebrate the courageous generations before them.)
With the blessing of Wayne the Rasta Man ("we're all the same color on the inside...we're all made of the same things, mon...my people love you!"), I
was the only white to join in the festivities--Robt and I seemed to be the only non-locals for MILES around. I didn't sing or dance...somehow it seemed disrespectful...and yet the towns people allowed me into their group as they beat their drums...and as the women chanted...and
as the men danced joyously with woven palm fronds upon their heads. Quite shyly, the new "Mrs. Garifuna Settlement Day" even allowed me to take her picture during her special crowning moment.
(Marsha-it was the class you gave me a couple years back on "perfectly perfect moments" that will make me treasure the following forever...)
It was the children who brought on my "so beautiful!" tears. The tiny girls trying to sing like thier mothers...the littlest boys trying to dance on the outskirts of the groups just like thier papas. If the pictures turn out at all, the girls will all be glorious in their fancy bell-shaped, brightly-colored dresses (against a backdrop of such Iris-dampened colors). In this
case, though, I'm afraid that my pictures are not worth a thousand words. I doubt that I could ever capture on film everything that filled my heart at that moment!
I was even fortunate enough to follow immediately behind the town people's parade down Sine Bight's "main street". The parade was lead by a flatbed filled with men leading songs and chants...and the rest of the town falling in step and chant right behind it. The singers stopped at each "neighborhood" business--Miss
LouLou's, Miss Patty's, Miss Lydia's to perform. So beautiful...so touching...so gosh darn REAL in comparison to my typical day-to-day. When was the last time I smiled and laughed and cried like this for ANYTHING back home?
Even with all of the devastation, I could stay in Placencia for months. There's something here in Belize that speaks to me...it's not just the
people, but also land. Placencia has crept up inside of me with her raw, ravaged beauty. I can't wait to see her healthy again. She must have been a goddess prior to October 2001. The people so deserve their country back!
More soon--I hear Omar's and the Pickled Parrot (need my fix of Parrot P*ss) whispering my name. Yunno, if they *really* wanted my attention, maybe they could add a simple yet penetrating drum beat to that whisper...kim....kimkim...kim...kimkim...kim!
Love 'ya, again!