A while back in Colin bh’s Corner he stated that Central Farm School of Agriculture was established in 1977. Actually, GOB had made a try at this school in February of 1972. Recently graduated from Muffles College (High School), yours truly was invited by Mr. Landy Orio, Chief Agricultural Officer in Orange Walk at the time, by way of my late father, Pete Cuello, to a new 2-year agriculture course to take place in Central Farm. There were approximately 15 of us, 13 young Farm Demonstrators in the employ of government, and 2 invited guests, yours truly and Mr. Eladio Carrillo, a teacher from San Lazaro, Orange Walk District.
We went there all enthusiastic for a chance to further our studies, but upon entering we were greeted by the dean, Mr. Nolbert Arzu, with the bad news that the course would only last 3 months. Disappointed, but with the idea that anything learned is profitable, we decided to stay on.
Let me see if I can remember all the guys: Russell “Chiste” Garcia (R.I.P.), Rene Montero (Hon.), William “Bill” Flores, Kent “Jack of Spades” Parham, Hugh “Packa” Marin, Gustavo “Gush” Torres, Acadio “Management” Marin, 2 Tzul brothers, Edgar Frutos, “My Man” Parham, Pat “Professor” Mena, Lawrence “ Zet” Zetina. We were joined later on by a Mr. Gordon and then ”Mr. Ching” (can’t remember his real name).
The teachers at the time were Mr. Elias Juan, Mr. Luis Frutos, Mr. Godsman Celestino Ellis. I think John Link was there for a while too.
Lynam College had recently closed down and was a big influence on all these guys at the time since most had been students there. “Scotty” was the cook, can’t remember the name of the grounds caretaker and his family, the McKenzie family was there too.
For a sixteen-year-old who had never been out of Orange Walk, Central Farm and Cayo were extremely exciting. The best place was the ice cold creek that borders the eastern side of the compound. I wonder if those in charge would allow me to go take a dip. The dairy and the piggery were good places to learn animal husbandry. There was also a bee community and a horticulture area. As Colin stated, the alcohol consumption problem exists, methinks from Central Farm was founded, for nearly everyone who goes there becomes a big consumer, yours truly included. Nothing is wrong with a drink or two: abuse is the problem, as with all other substances.
In 1972, “The Mighty Avengers” were just up and coming. Russell Waight worked in Central Farm, sorry to hear him named as recently departed, and through him when the “Avengers” came to play in Orange Walk, vs Aspiro “Pio” Urbina’s “JUCA”(not sure about this) at the B.S.I. Field in Otro Benque, he took them to “Hi-Lite Club” to have a few drinks and listen to the songs in our jukebox. (Glad to read they are having their “Hall of Fame.”) It was the time of “Germain de la Fuente y Los Angeles Negros”, “Lucho Munoz y Los Galos” , “Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Sounds of Silence”. Eric Donaldson. “Los Caneros” in Orange Walk, “Los Atlanticos” and “Blue Angels Club” in Cayo. Little Vincent Dacak (R.I.P.) dancing “Duwanany” in front of Eva’s Restaurant on Burns Avenue. The movie house where we saw “Love Story” with my friends Tey and Tul. Haven’t seen them since.
Only one ride back to the Farm after the movies on Saturday, You miss it and you walk back or pay “Taxito” to take you.
Cayo was a tightly knit community, even at “Mar Azul” in Santa Elena where we went to get a few puffs; everybody knew each other. No need to buy bottled water, just go to the river and get your fill of fresh, drinkable water.
The British had a pretty strong camp in Central Farm at the time and Mr. Lucio Chief supplied them with their favourite beverage, “Caribbean Rum”. I f Belmopan is 45 years old now, it was only 2 then. The National Agriculture Fair on the Belmopan Grounds was initiated around then, can’t remember the first year.
My good friends in Cayo were Orlando “Pancho” Luna (R.I.P.), and Abdo Bedran, Timmy Bedran’s younger sibling, all well known around town at the time.
“Better to be a young June Bug than an old Bird of Paradise.” James Michener, The Drifters.