We are Like Trees by yasser musa Yesterday our SJC History Club journeyed to southern Belize for two site visits.
We first stopped at the archaeological site of Serpon, once an industrial era sugar mill established in 1865, located one mile off the Southern Highway on the Sitee River road. Our students scanned the space with their hands, their eyes, their iPads, their phones, go pros and their minds.
The second stop was the Pen Cayetano Art Gallery in Dangriga owned and operated by Belize’s legendary artist and musician Pen Cayetano and his wife Ingrid. Pen gave our club members an engaging tour of his gallery, featuring historic paintings, and objects. His voice was bold, forceful and compassionate. At one point he hugged Juan Reina, a visually impaired student, and asked him to “feel my vibes, we experience the world through our voice.”
Pen’s magnetism captivated the youths. He gathered them under large Noni and mango trees, inviting them to sit on a long dory, and organized a drumming and dancing session.
In the forest of Serpon we came together for a photograph under a massive tree. The canopy held us together, the festival of lights darting though, illuminating our spirits. And in the sandy yard of the Garifuna culture guru we danced, and drummed and bore witness to a human tree - his energy overpowering us - his charisma washing us in a moment of pure joy.