Yesterday I took you on a tour through the flamingo marshes and Mayan Ruins of Xcambo in Progresso. Today we are riding in the tour bus along the infrastructure of Progresso, which surprisingly to me was in tact and in fairly good condition. As we travel, I notice out the windows the sisal agave. See it there?
Our guides Art and Nash explain to us that Sisal Agave is an agave that yields a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine, rope and also dartboards. But they also explain that in these parts many locals use this plant to make their own version of tequila. Art swears the the sisal agave produces a drink that is more potent that tequila...and he claims better. I make a note to myself NOT to try it out if I am offered. You know what they say about tequila...and incidentally, it DOES make my clothes come off. Not to mention the close relationship I might have with a toilet upon consumption. But for those who are friends of tequila, you may want to take a different note for yourself.
In minutes we find ourselves here:
The town cemetery. The cemetery consist of Mayan descendants.
This cemetery is built upon limestone. Limestone is almost impossible to actually bury.
Instead loved ones remains are placed above ground. Some are put into tiny buildings that many of us would liken to a mausoleum.
You can easily identify the wealth of those who were rich (by Mayan standards) and those who were poor. By American standards, it translates to those that are poor, and those that are destitute.
The families are solely in charge of upkeep and maintenance of the site.
Some sites are buildings, as I mentioned....others are simply put into a box, while others are placed inside what appears like a gated small house. Some have cement crosses and more elaborate details, others are marked by a simple wooden cross with a painted name.
This family's remains are stacked against the wall in a covered building in the cemetery. I think the building (3 walls-2 with open doors-and a roof)acts as a chapel on the site.
****The following may disturbing to some viewers. Proceed with caution****
As mentioned previously, many remains are exposed to the elements, such as these put into the box, without a lid. You can see some remains wrapped in sheets.
Sadly, other remains of human bones were scattered about this cemetery.
Scattered most likely by animals, because many of the remains are merely places inside the small gated houses. For example, here below you can see a human skull inside, exposed to the elements.
Because there are no stupid questions....For those that might be curious, as I would....I detected no odors. And I visited on a very hot and humid day. Granted most of the grave sites appeared to be old, I did notice only one person that was in the cemetery that was a local, not in our group. He was an elderly man, came by bicycle (cars are a luxury) and was visiting a fresh grave. I wondered if it were his spouse. I didn't get to close, we observed his privacy. Though, I did find myself praying silently for him.
The visit to the cemetery was a real learning experience for not only myself but also my children.
I was glad that they got to experience it and learn about another culture. Here are a few more pictures from the Mayan descendant cemetery.
Tomorrow we will travel into the Mayan city of Dzemul. A most fascinating little town, made up mostly of Mayan descendants. Join me here tomorrow!