Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Customs and Recycling

A few years ago, I lived on the mainland of Belize in a small wooden house on stilts with a shaded porch overlooking a nice patch of hibiscus, bougainvillea, three mango trees and some beautiful ferns. Shading the entire yard was an enormous avocado tree. Very lush tropical grounds. Plants thrive in that climate as do bugs and various other creatures.

I had invited some new friends over for dinner and one of the women very nicely offered to help me clean up. As I was carrying some dishes into the kitchen, I was surprised - to say the least - as she casually scraped the leftovers from our plates over the railing to the ground below. I'm embarrassed to say that my voice raised at least an octave as I said the obvious: "What are you doing?"

I could tell that she was equally surprised by my reaction. "I'm feeding the dogs. What they don't eat, the chickens from next door will. What were you going to do with them?"

She had a point, of course; but, all I could think was: "that explains the rats."