Prior to accepting the job as Security Chief at Ray Caye Resort, I lived a privileged lifestyle. Everything I needed or desired was provided for me, usually on a silver platter. I never had a reason to speculate where the objects of my desire were obtained or how these small miracles occurred. They just did.
But, as I’ve mentioned before, since moving to the island I’ve learned how to be more self-sufficient and environmentally conscious, mostly because we practice the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle here on the caye.
For instance, we generate some of our energy by using solar power. We collect rainwater for watering plants and for cleaning, and can even convert it into water that is safe for both drinking and cooking. We also collect and use the Sargasso, seagrass, and various other plant material that washes up on our shores to use as compost. (Read more about that here.)
But what I haven’t told you much about is my favorite place on the island, and it’s one that also contributes a great deal to our food supply. It’s a small plot of land, a little off the beaten path in the middle of the island. You might not even notice it if you weren’t looking.
Draped with a light shade cloth to protect it from the Caribbean’s hot summer sun, and also from the birds and iguanas, it’s tucked cleverly under the edges of the palm trees. And it’s a place I try to visit every chance I get.
You see, my happy place, my favorite spot on the island, is our very own garden. And my favorite person, my best friend Damiano, is in charge of it all.
Some of the foods that Damiano grows in our little garden are tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, okra, papaya, and cabbage. There’s also cilantro, mint, basil, parsely, onions, and beets. The garden area also serves as a hot-house for starter plants and flowers, as well as banana and coconut trees that contribute to the beauty and sustainability of our island.
But the greatest part of the garden is that Damiano is there all the time, which gives me a reason to visit often. Knowing my penchant for food, you may think it’s ironic that my best friend is also the guy that is in charge of growing our supplemental food supply. And maybe that is a small part of why I like him so much.
But the truth is, Damiano is just an amazingly friendly, kind and interesting person, who just happens to have a special knack for growing food. And ok, it's true, I may have a little bit of a man-crush on him. But who wouldn't?
Because I’m telling you the truth when I say he can dig in any little patch of sandy soil, drop in a few seeds, and turn it into something edible in no time flat. And that, my friends, is a talent that would hold any red-blooded, food obsessed, wiener dog spell-bound forever.
Until next time, stay adventurous, my friends!