Heribeto Cocom Comments
Advisor for Amigos de El Pilar 

Amigos de El Pilar
Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo

Road to Bullet Tree
Camino a Bullet Tree

Amigos de El PilarCommunity EcotoursBe Pukte Cultural CenterMaya Forest GardenHow to get here

It has been about 100 years, Bullet Tree Falls was a small village with approximately some 50 people, including the children. I am only 27 years, pardon, I say 57 years, but according to the story of our Maya ancestors, the ones that came and built the village of Bullet Tree Falls were from the Mexican and Guatemalan zone. In a short time it converted into an English colony, controlled by the English coming here, being a zone of high bush — jungle - not exploited. Now this I want to say, that it was not yet cut down by our farmers. The reason was because the population was small. At this time they started to cut or fall the high bush, little by little, until they reached the higher mountains above Bullet Tree Falls, close to El Pilar some 7 and a half miles north. Now it only exists in low bush like secondary bush.

It has been some 24 years, I did not have the vision to have an idea that on this time I was going to be a man that was going to present something that now we are wanting to make good. I obtained a piece of land which is approximately 15 acres. I live in the zone of this place at the banks of the river. I have approximately 1 acre of land where I live, like my companion Marcos Garcia has said, and it is already covered with fruit trees, hardwood trees and other local types of trees, and then I have an agricultural lot that is approximately 1 kilometer from where I live going up Paslow Falls road.

It has been about 25 years, like I have said. I started, like everyone else, to fall the bush. The first years I cleared the 15 acres of land. But then, an idea came to me. And I said, I am destroying my lands, I say the little animals, birds and four-legged animals, something like that, they are getting scared, running away. And I got a great sadness. So I then selected a part of the land to let it grow as jungle. And now in these days I am seeing that it is all worth the effort, even if it is surrounded with low bush. I have a piece that is becoming a jungle and I see that from time to time the birds, Toucan, others, I see them coming from the high jungles of Guatemala to my piece of land, willing to stop at this little parcel of 15 acres. Also other animals come to the same zone, that is on this piece of land. I feel myself happy - proud - because I see them, they make my heart feel happy - rejoice - because of their noise, the fluttering and songs of the birds.

Well, It has been not too long ago, like about two weeks, since I had a deer, it was already big, his horns were small. It was very tame. It would not even run, but I couldn't catch him. He would stand still when I see him and wouldn't run away. He would just watch you because he was accustomed to being by the ranch. It was his road, he passed and passed and went to drink water in the river. Well two weeks ago I was not here, I was out for a time, for otherwise a hunter got in with his dog wouldn't have gotten on the land nor would I have let them carry a gun, but there they were, and BOOM! he shot my deer. If I was there, not even DEAD would he take it out.

So, it must have been about two years ago, or about a year ago, that Anabel and Constanza started their forest garden and invited me to take a look. So I began working around El Pilar. In this area that appears on our map, we now have a part we planted, trees we put in, valuable trees like Santa Maria, Mahogany, for example. We have about 200 plants, another few we brought from what remains of the Belizean jungle. We brought about 20 to this place, and I planted with the idea that in time, when these trees have grown, more birds will come from Guatemala, those birds that live in the high bush there, and they will come and inhabit this place.

Well, I think this is a good beginning, what we are trying to do to renew, that is, recover and replant lost trees that were destroyed by our fathers. I speak so because it is certain I participated in this. But, of course, it wasn't intentional what I did, that is, it was a necessity to find a means of survive.

Yes we see that Bullet Tree Falls is big - growing; 1,900 inhabitants. There are many students, but maybe the students are not interested in ecotourism, one student wants a profession and other students want other things, and so on. Well that's the world. And then we think that by educating our people, like I have said, we could get lots of things and with the help of organizations in the Maya world.

Well when we say that we await the help in this part, I think that yes we could get the help from very kindly people and with the help of our powerful God. Yes, we are going get what we desire for our community of Bullet Tree Falls and also the future of surrounding communities, as well as the indigenous peoples.

This is all I have to say. Many Thanks.

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