Chaya! Dinner with the Maya: an exhibit at the Mexican Cultural Institute ended yesterday. The exhibit was curated by Dr. Anabel Ford focusing on the Maya Society of El Pillar and its forest. Dr. Ford highlights the traditions that the Maya society used and how it is still being used today. She noted that there are many gardeners who continue to care and use the forest in a sustainable way as passed down by their ancestors. According to Dr. Ford the exhibit also helps teach a valuable lesson of using traditional methods from the past for sustainable development.
El Pillar is spread out across 120 acres just east of the border with Guatemala and some seven miles north of San Ignacio. In speaking with Cynthia Ellis Topsey, Maya Researcher, she noted that working with the Guatemalans in managing this Nature Reserve hasn’t been a problem.
Cynthia Ellis Topsey, Maya Researcher: “In the midst of all the adversarial conversations that have taken place it’s just amazing that people to people collaboration is excellent, that we don’t get caught up in the political dimensions or the nuances. The fact is that the plants speak their own language, the trees speak their own language and if we would appreciate and learn from nature then we will be able to settle a lot of our differences. Recently we attended a fathering in Guatemala City and Dr.Ford, myself and Rafael Manzanero from the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, and there it was a gathering of experts from Belize, Mexico and Guatemala where we were being invited to see what our experiences have been in the past and ways in which we could cooperate, collaborate, coordinate and it was phenomenal. The idea was that we would get to know one another, what are some of the concerns, what are some of the best practices and how we can move forward in the future.”
The exhibit has been taken in by the National Institute for Culture and History (NICH) in hopes to modify it into their learning program at the Belize Museum.