On this day, 8th October, 528 years ago, which is the year 1492, three sailing ships, the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, under the captaincy of Christopher Columbus (an Italian explorer who had won the sponsorship of Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II of Spain for a journey west across the ocean) had been at sea since August 3, 66 days, sailing in waters that had never been charted.
For the peoples in this part of the world – the Tainos, Caribs, Plains Indians, Aztecs, Maya, and Incas — on 8th October, 528 years ago, they were four days away from seeing the world they knew come crashing down.
Columbus was seeking a new route to Asia; he landed on a shoal in the Bahamas, on October 12. Seafarers recognize Columbus’s voyage across the Atlantic in 1492 as one of the greatest feats of seamanship ever, and no one can deny that.
At the time the Europeans invaded the Americas, they were in possession of superior weaponry; they believed themselves higher beings and were hell bent on plundering wherever they went. They were people who had some immunity to some terrible diseases that they carried, diseases that decimated the peoples who lived in this hemisphere.
When the Europeans invaded the Americas, some of the tribes they met might have been called, primitive. They were the Naturalists, people who considered themselves a part of creation, not the owners of the earth. The Aztecs, Maya, and Incas would have been called, advanced. They were building huge temples, making roads and irrigation canals, terracing hill sides, and studying the stars.
For almost FIVE hundred years after the invasion of the Americas, all we had was one set of people, the Europeans, getting richer and richer, and everybody else in the world getting poorer and poorer. It would take many years for the excess riches of the Europeans, made off the plunder of the Americas and the enslavement of Africans, to begin to be translated into the development in the sciences and engineering we see in our modern world.
The Europeans did not bring development to the Americas. 200 years after Columbus came, the steam engine was not yet invented (1712). More than 300 years after the invasion, Louis Pasteur, born in 1822, discovered that microorganisms cause disease and developed the process of pasteurization and vaccines against anthrax and rabies. Almost 400 years after Columbus the incandescent bulb was invented (1879).
October 12 is a national holiday in Belize, and it is celebrated by a few as Columbus Day, but officially it is Pan American Day, a day to celebrate the original peoples of this part of the world, and to mourn what happened here when the Europeans invaded. Our European ancestors, they are guilty of genocide and the enslavement of our ancestors.
U will du fool if yu live long enough
A lot of never-can-get-enough people complain because God “only” gave us three score and ten, mas o menos, but God knows that one would have to be a heck of a human being to withstand the many severely disallowed temptations in the world forever. You get the sense? We’d all be so loaded with sins, none of us would qualify for the special reward. Then we’d say how cruel God is. Well, because He loves us, He limits our opportunities to foul up.
Everyone who cares to know knows that this claim that people used to live for hundreds of years is just outrageous. I suppose that those people reached puberty after they hit a hundred, and they lost all of their you-know-what desires after a decade or two years, and then for the remainder of their long stay of another two or three hundred years, they became monks.
The longest living bohgaz in the animal world are the turtles, and one look at them tells you why. They are never going anywhere, and under threat they just lock themselves within their shells and go to sleep. They never get excited.
Researchers at the University of Alaska Anchorage say the normal heart rate of the red-eared slider turtle “is about 25 beats a minute. Steal away its oxygen and within six hours the heart rate drops to 10 beats a minute. If that turtle is chilled, its oxygen-starved heart rate will drop to a very low one beat per minute. Yet the turtle is still alive and healthy. Come warmer temperatures, it returns to normal activity and its heart rate perks back up to 25 beats per minute.”
If Jesus had lived 500 years, do you think He would have gone to His reward without a blemish on His Ledger? The fact is that Jesus flirted with trouble a number of times in His short life on earth. He turned water into wine. That was flirting with trouble. He allowed the beautiful woman to cozy up to Him. That was flirting with trouble. He took off the sash cord that held up His pants and belted the wicked gamblers in the temple. That was, living dangerously.
We see the recent case of the top executive of the phone company. We see what happened to Bill Cosby, though people say he was transgressing big time long before his senior years. We see how it is with these politicians, how they become more rotten the longer they stay around. You stay around long enough, yu will du fool.
Why my no-hurricane call for Belize in 2020
This has turned out to be one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, spawning so many storms that the list of names for the storms has been exhausted for only the second time on record. Fortunately, the increased number of storms hasn’t resulted in increased landings.
I’m writing this while keeping an eye on Hurricane Delta as it bears down on north Yucatan. The experts are pretty accurate in their predictions about the severity of the hurricane season, and when a hurricane forms they can tell exactly where it’s going to go. All the experts say that our neighbor to the north is in the path of this one, and that, please no, it could become a monster.
My gut call at the beginning of the hurricane season for none coming our way this year was based on the heavy rains that inundated Belize early in the rainy season. The thought process of this non-expert was that so much drenching must have reduced the temperature of the terra firma in our part of the world, and that a cooled down terra firma would cool down the sea near our shores. Hurricanes are bad beasts that feed on warm water; the warmer the water the more ferocious they become.
If I’m off base it’s not very far, because the climate change scientists have explained how much a one- degree change in temperature can affect our weather. The God I know doesn’t directly interfere in the formation of hurricanes and the paths they take. Those things are decided by meteorological conditions.
Interestingly, a week or two before Hurricane Nana hit Belize, I reported in my column that while there was a lot of rain up north, and flooding in Cayo and Toledo, farmers south of Dangriga were crying out for rain. Hurricane Nana looked like it had the crosshairs set for just north of Belize City, and then it drifted south, to the area of our country that was experiencing drought conditions.
Of course, the season noh done yet. I wish I had the time and the access to the records at the Met Service, so I could do some research on the years we got hit, and the years we didn’t, to see if the amount of rainfall has something to do with it.