Veni, Vidi, Vici
I came, I saw, I conquered – Julius Caesar
Veni, Vidi, Et Purgari
I came, I saw, I cleaned – Brion Young and the Chaa Creek River Keepers
And then there’s another old saying, popular in various armies and other organisations: “Never Volunteer”
Well, it’s clear that most members of Team Chaa Creek haven’t heard that one. Or if they have, they weren’t listening
Because when the call came out again this year for volunteers to join The Chaa Creek River Cleanup Campaign 2019 there was no shortage of hands being raised.
And there was also no shortage of smiles, good cheer and back slapping to go with the 17 large bags of rubbish the cheerfully exhausted team had collected by the end of the day.
The Macal River Clean Up Day, brainchild of Brion Young, manager of Chaa Creek’s Belize Natural History Centre and a devoted Belizean environmentalist, kicked off again this year in early June 2019, and once again left a more pristine Macal River in its wake.
When Brion initiated the first Macal River Clean Up on May 10 last year, we were, to say the least, impressed. Especially when he and his team of sixteen Chaa Creek staff members collected nine of those big industrial-sized rubbish bags to bring to the local Waste Management Station.
What a great idea, and what a great result, we thought.
This year, the number of bags collected has nearly doubled, along with our respect for Brion’s team and this typically Belizean approach to cleaning the environment – laughter, good cheer, and lots of hard work. Followed by more laughter and good cheer.
At 8 am on a typically lovely Belizean June morning, Brion and his merry team of fifteen river cleaners again paddled off down the Macal River towards San Ignacio Town, gloves, rakes and other implements in hand, scouring the river and its banks as they went.
Seventeen bags of stuff that Brion says, “Doesn’t belong in the river” are now in a more appropriate location – the Waste Management Station.
Chaa Creek is well known and recognised for its commitment to sustainable tourism and responsible travel, and efforts like this – when staff members identify a problem and then come up with and implement their own solutions – proves that in a truly Green organisation, everyone walks the talk.
And from what a tired and happy Brion said at the end of the day, we can expect more initiatives like this, “We look forward to keeping on doing our part, and helping to improve the world through environmentally- friendly efforts like this,” he said, and added,
“We believe that by doing our part, these kinds of actions continue on both a local and international level.”
We couldn’t be prouder of Brion and his team, and couldn’t be happier to see the beautiful Macal River, giver of life to so many birds, fish and rainforest inhabitants, and giver of enjoyment to so many humans, returned to its natural state.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to experience canoeing the tranquil Macal, you’ll understand why these efforts have moved us so deeply.
And if you haven’t, you’re missing out on one of the most enjoyable experiences to be had anywhere.
But fear not. With Chaa Creek’s fleet of canoes and team of knowledgeable naturalist guides, canoeing the Macal is easy and fun for entire families and people of all ages.
Paddle downstream to San Ignacio Town, marvel at the abundance of birds and wildlife to be seen along the river, pass under the historic Hawkesworth Bridge, and enjoy something delectable at the Guava Limb Café before you and your canoes are driven back to Chaa Creek.
And while on the Macal, give a thought to the Chaa Creek river keepers and all the other Belizeans who, from the inland rivers to the Belize Great Barrier Reef, show their love of the environment through their efforts.
Imagine if this sort of grassroots action grows all over the world.
“You may say that I’m a dreamer…”