“This is my livelihood”: Maya Mountains cave story


This story comes from a Belizean hostel shareholder who lives along the Hummingbird Highway surrounded by cave-filled mountains.

I took a Swedish visitor up to a cave this year, I know over 100 caves. I noticed a hole up in the wall. You know how the Maya used to [makes a motion link he is climbing]. So I climbed up after making a rope out of some vines. When I went up there I had to go down in a tunnel and it turned and curved. I had my headlamp and at the end I found ceramic pieces: pieces of the Maya calendar, broken but it was the Maya calendar{1}.

I brought it down to show the visitor and then I hid them in a place. I pretended to hide it in one place but actually hid it in another place so no one would see. When I came back, the first place was dug up: they tried to find it{2}! The pieces are still in the second place.

This is my livelihood, this is how I make money. I need the pieces to still be there so I can show them to tourists. There is a lot of money in this. Here people go from primary school, to high school, to university, to the prison. There is no where else to go if they don’t work, if they don’t see the value of these things.

{1} Sounds like a broken incised vessel with glyphs or other images on it. The idea of the Maya calendar is ubiquitous here so all glyphs kinda become that.

{2} Unclear on who ‘they’ were. Not the Swede I don’t think. I suppose they weren’t there alone and others went back to try to grab the pieces.