Just outside of Maskall, a small village of 900 people, is the eco-tourist lodge where I am to live and teach for the next several weeks.
Eco-tourism helps Belize preserve its rain forest and reef ecosystem.
Driving onto the grounds of Pretty See Jungle Ranch I see a wide-open savannah, an unusual landscape for the jungles. Horses graze.
A toucan, the national bird, nods its head at me. The main lodge and surrounding huts are built in a traditional style with thatched roofs of coconut palm.
My students are at the front of the main lodge eager to greet me.
I meet my students - Olivia, Liz and Lenny. They're very shy at first!
For the next several weeks we work diligently each day, getting to know one another as we laugh and learn from one another.
My students are very serious about their massage training. Learning a skill they can practice at Pretty See Jungle Ranch that will pay them money is a tremendous opportunity for them.
There is scant opportunity for earning money available in Maskall village.
There is only one business, as such, in Maskall Village, a centrally located house that's been designated as the village store.
A selection of the village’s locally grown organic produce is available for sale. Here in Maskall Village there’s no money to pay for chemical fertilizers or pesticides and, so organic food is the standard fare.
The village store also sells handicrafts to the local eco tourist trade.
As with their multiethnic ancestors villagers learn and practice a handicraft or service they can use for bartering.
Trade is the primary means of exchanging goods and services in Maskall Village and little work opportunities exist.
My new friends are delighted to learn a valuable skill that allows them to earn money for sending their children to the nearby one room school house which at the time cost less than $5 (US) or $10 (BZ), as well as to pay for electricity in their home.
When their massage training is finished each of the students offers me a special handmade gift and a huge smile, along with tears of gratitude for what they've learned.
They've been taught a valuable trade which gives them the freedom to earn a livelihood.
The cold pressed coconut oil they'll primarily use to massage their clients with is inexpensive and readily available in Belize City about an hours drive away from Maskall.
Try this perfect Belize Massage Oil Blend which contains scents that bring to mind the local tropical environs of Belize. It makes an excellent massage oil for relief of body aches and pains.
Belize Massage Oil Recipe
- Ylang Ylang III - 30 drops
- Marjoram - 20 drops
- Cypress - 20 drops
- Helichrysum - 20 drops
- Lemongrass - 5 drops
- Ginger - 5 drops
To a 5ml (100 drops) colored glass euro-dropper bottle add your pure essential oils. Cap bottle tightly and shake vigorously to thoroughly blend oils. Allow to synergies for 12 hours or longer before using.
To a one ounce plastic dispensing bottle half filled with liquified cold pressed coconut oil add 15-18 drops (5-6% dilution) of the Belize Massage Oil Blend.
You can also substitute fractionated light coconut oil instead of using the raw, cold pressed coconut oil.
CAUTION: Please keep oils away from eyes and do not apply oil directly on any open sores as this can cause sensitization to essential oils.