May 18, 2011
Greetings from Punta Gorda! We had such an awesome day today! We went to a farm owned by a man named Eladio Pop that had just about anything and everything that’s delicious growing on it. He has owned his cacao farm since he was 20 years old and he’s now 51. Oh and he has 15 kids (the oldest is 32), not to mention many grandchildren! We walked along the hills of his land as he generously let us try his delicious cocao seeds, mangos, bananas, all spice, coconuts, ginger, limes, and lemons. The farm was so different from my mental image of a high production farming the States–all of the different crops on Eladio’s were grown next to each other and were dispersed throughout the shady hillside. Eladio was such an incredible energetic and lively man–he knew about every nook of the place and used his machete like his right hand to chop down fruit for us. We stopped at the top of the farm for a little bit of story time among the drying corn piles (7 kernels per hole for the optimal corn growth). Eladio has definitely had some interesting dreams…
Afterward we went to Eladio’s house for lunch–so lovely. His family was so friendly and they were wonderful cooks! We ate beans, coconut rice, chicken, ginger palm stuff (?) and lime juice in his house while Eladio played with this 3 year old son on his indoor hammock. His son was maybe the cutest boy ever. Then we sat down with his oldest daughter to make Eladio’s favorite Cacao drink. We all got a turn to help crack and grind the roasted cocao beans that were picked right from their farm. The grinder was named Victoria! heyo! The cacao drink was so fresh! I had to add some sugar to it though..a tad too bitter for my taste. It was incredible to see such a large family live sustainably on their own produce. I also got my first purchases of the trip–a ball of cacao puree and a carved bowl made by Eladio’s daughters–cant wait to use them back home!
And as if the day wasn’t exciting enough we went to the Mayan site of Lubaatun and checked out the ruins there! Got some epic photos of the huge monuments there. SUCH a great day–can’t wait for what else is in store here in Belize.
USC Class of 2014