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#12226 - 10/11/01 10:14 PM Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,349
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
Please let folks know that only about 12,000 people live in Toledo beyond
the town limits of Punta Gorda (population about 3500). Maybe that will
put the 8000 homeless in sharper focus. Placencia will be rebuilt fast
because the money will be available, the sun will shine and the sea will
sparkle. It will be much different in the villages where people still grow
their own food, build their homes from forest materials (not sawn lumber),
wash their clothes and bathe in the rivers and try to protect their future
by growing tree crops like cacao. I imagine that the way of life in the
villages will be utterly changed by Iris, much the way Belize City and its
society were changed by Hattie forty years ago.

I spoke to people in PG today. They got fuel, just today, and the trucks
with relief supplies were finally able to cross Deep River and Golden Stream
where they had been delayed two days because the bridges were flooded.
Folks in town were cooking lots of food and sending it out to the villages.
One person told me that he stood on the Southern Highway at Lindo's Hill
north of Dump) looking west and could see San Pedro Columbia. He said it
looked like a bulldozer had gone through the miles of trees between the road
and the village.

I will be difficult fare in the slightly-longer-than-immediate
future. There will have to be support for them so they can eat until they
can replant and harvest another crop, at the absolute minimum. It sounds
like many, many villagers lost their household goods to the storm.

Thanks for all your hard work. Please do your best to keep folks outside
Belize focussed on the reality of the situation on the ground and what needs
to be done and where. Please keep up the good work
with the donations and make sure that the Forgotten District is not
forgotten in its direst hour of need.

A cacao grower in Toledo

#12227 - 10/11/01 11:11 PM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
susangg Offline
susangg  Offline
Oh the cacao farm ruined? This is a great operation, their chocolate was starting to hit the gourmet circuit (Maya Gold).
I'd like to hear more about the status of the Maya Gold cooperative.

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email:
#12228 - 10/11/01 11:24 PM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 40
pacwoman Offline
pacwoman  Offline
This professed chocoholic just threw in a tiny bit more for the cacao farmers...
still sending APBs to Friends of Belize for the donation server.

Let's keep those numbers churning!

Pepper A. Chastain
Austin, TX USA
#12229 - 10/11/01 11:42 PM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,349
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
will try to get more on the maya gold coop

#12230 - 10/11/01 11:56 PM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 32
Wadeb Offline
Wadeb  Offline
Here is a web page to find more info on the Maya Gold Chocolate. Both the story behind it and a source for the product...
It also includes some of the other indigenous cooperative efforts being made.

#12231 - 10/12/01 12:10 AM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 40
pacwoman Offline
pacwoman  Offline
Wade - great link! thanks for the info. - your endless stream of information amazes me!! BTW: I've never seen the Green and Black's Maya Gold Bars... do you know if they are distributed in the U.S. now or U.K. only?

I know it's not that relevant now, but for future reference and trickle down economics - would love to get my hands on a stocking full! thx, pepper

Pepper A. Chastain
Austin, TX USA
#12232 - 10/12/01 08:39 AM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 32
Wadeb Offline
Wadeb  Offline
I have not seen them in the US, so far only actually in Belize...

Maybe we can set up a source.
I would think someone would want to get involved with it. I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet.

#12233 - 10/12/01 08:55 AM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,349
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
The address for the Toledo Cacao Growers Association is The
office is located in Punta Gorda, but the vast majority of the members live
in the villages hit by Iris. We are organic growers who sell to a British
buyer who produces a bar called Maya Gold which is sold at a premium price.
We farmers are paid well above the world market price for organic production
and because the product is fair traded. It's been a real boon to Toledo
and to the farmers who grow cacao. I haven't heard how the trees fared. I
fear the answer. It's very possible no one will be there to answer mail
because their homes/farms have most likely been damaged and they are in the
village dealing with the aftermath.

The administrator for the cooperative has another e-address which is His home and farm are in San Pedro Columbia. I don't
know if he is in Belize or not; he was supposed to be travelling before the
harvest started again (in a few weeks).

#12234 - 10/12/01 09:00 AM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 9
cacaogrower Offline
cacaogrower  Offline
Maya Gold bars are being imported into the US by some folks in NY. I think the name of the firm is Belgravia Imports.

Because the amount of cacao being grown is small, there aren't a lot of chocolate bars being made. They are usually sold in small speciality shops. I saw them in an organic coop in San Francisco a year ago and have also found them in Rhinebeck, NY.

Sure hope a lot of the trees survived; the harvest should be starting soon. The cacao growers cooperative has been successful and growing steadily in numbers of farmers and in pounds produced. It is (I hate to think in the past tense) an important contribution to the economy of rural Toledo.

#12235 - 10/12/01 02:06 PM Re: Toledo, Thurs nite  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 40
pacwoman Offline
pacwoman  Offline
Thanks cacao grower - my sister lives in San Francisco... I just made a Christmas wish list request!

As news develops on the impact to the farms and future crops, please post. I will check the tcga email, but imagine they all have their hands full right now. thx again, Pepper

Pepper A. Chastain
Austin, TX USA

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!

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