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June 5th

We went on the Barton Creek tour today. During the drive there we saw some traditional Mennonites in buggies, with long beards. The guide told us that in the village of the non-traditional Mennonites they discovered oil about five years ago, so they now call them money nites because they have the bulk of the country’s money. In the tour we first canoed inside a cave. That was fantastic. I really loved the Mayan stories (much more than the facts like stalagmites and stuff) the tour guide was telling us. He told us about how the tree of life has heaven on its leaves, life on its trunk, and the underworld in the roots. That the Mayan believed the stalagmites were the roots and the cave, the human underworld. These caves became sacred for this reason. Only the head of the tribe could go in, as well as any sacrifices. While in the cave we saw several broken pots that the Mayan intentionally broke to liberate the spirits. We also saw what looked like a mask but turned out to be the skull of an average 10 year old boy who was sacrificed. The younger the person, the purer they are and thus the best sacrifice for the gods, which brings me to the next point. Seeing as I was the youngest in the group. The group along with the tour guide wanted to sacrifice me. J I’m alive right? When we came out of the cave, I loved the land more than when I went in the cave. It seems like the more I see and look at new things and things I’ve already seen, the more I fall in love with this land. We drove for about an hour to Big Rock Falls. The falls are gorgeous. It’s like trickling soft glass. Everyone was getting in and I was just going to sit on a rock, but the tour guide asked me if I wanted he could lead me to shallow water. I did that. We were stepping on the rocks all the way there. All the girls were cheering me on from underneath the falls as they showered. I felt like such a dork. A girl named Katherine who is a lifeguard in Canada came over. She told me she would lead me over to the other girls. I was hesitant at first going into 35-40 feet deep water, but I was never going to get that chance again. I did it. She led me on as I kicked. I made it to the falls but didn’t shower under them. The water there was about 60 feet deep and there was no way I was doing that. All the girls got on a rock on top of the falls (they climbed and climbed and climbed) and they were all diving. Cora dived three times like a pro. Delayna really wanted to go up and do it. She went up, then double guessed it and was up there for an hour and twenty minutes trying to jump. Everyone kept going up encouraging her to do it. Then Roxanne went up and kind of tricked her. They were holding hands and were about to jump in together. Then Roxanne let go and Delayna ended up flying in all alone. The tour guide was as he called it, the paparazzi. He had all our cameras and was taking pictures. Oh yeah, the tour guy is Mayan and he told us that there are still some people who consider the caves sacred and should be limited to the people that go in. That if he asks his grandmother to go in with him, she won’t, because it is the sacred hall. While we were hiking back up he started talking to me in Spanish. I guess to figure out if I spoke it or not. Then he told me one thing. He says he has been studying here for several years and everyday there is something new to be learned. I will be posting lessons from now on. Lesson for the day, there is something new to be learned every day.

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