We were lucky enough to join a visit to the Sugar Cane Factory near Orange Walk about 35 miles away. The area where we live is predominantly sugar cane fields and is harvested twice a year . For Belize it’s a big factory and can’t be missed as it belches out a constant black plume of smoke. We joined the tour incognito as members of the local roots and shoots society and were given eye protection and hard hats we had to wear closed toed shoes as it said safety footwear must we worn…. i was really expecting the worst from this visit as far as safety standards go. We walk through the gate and they explain there safety starts here monologue …. we have to take a detour across the grass as the new safety path is having reflectors put in at a crossing point …So far so good … we walk over to where the trucks were being unloaded … i was expecting to see 100 guys with pitch forks throwing the sugarcane stalks down .. and was gob smacked that the they drove the truck on to a hydraulic lift and hoisted the engine side into the air allowing the cane to fall straight out onto a conveyor it was ingenious …
it went from there to a set of crushers with about 100 large hammers on a drum whacking the cane down in to small pieces the guide said come and have a look …we did and got a face full of sugar sticks being thrown at high speed from the machine …Safety goggles were a good idea….. The next thing we saw was a guy pulling the same sugar sticks out of a chain and cog assembly that drove the machine ..may be they get a new guy every week ? who knows it was really dangerous but apart from that and no hearing protection in 100 decibel zone the place was super clean, well maintained and really was a credit to Belizean industry. The plant employs 125 people and works night and day during the sugar cane harvesting.. it processes 1000 tonnes of sugar cane per day and the waste sugar cane roughage is burnt in an onsite furnace plant that produces steam that powers a turbine to create 20 megawatts per day.
The factory produces 4 types of sugar , Demerara which is exported to the UK ..Class A , B & C … the A & B is also exported to the world market and the class C is only for sale in Belize .. when i asked the guide what the C stood for he just smiled 🙂 …. The sugar cane is transported from the factory by barges on the river to ships in the deep water off shore ..they do not use trucks as foreign vehicle movements through Belize are not permitted… they estimate the amount of Sugar cane left to harvest by flying a plane over at high altitude… All in all a very slick operation ..YES in Belize 🙂
We went to a party at the Bamboo Beach Resort in Copper Bank which is about 7 miles away across the hand crank ferry , Canjo the owner was throwing a big bash and it turned out to be amazing everyone brought a side dish (they call in pot luck here) and Canjo laid on the best meat BBQ extravaganza i’d seen anywhere in my life , two purpose built huge grills had ribs , sausage , chops , t-bone steaks and stuff i didn’t even know what it was but everything delicious …about 150-200 showed up and it was a great atmosphere mostly belizean and not a GRINGOFEST ….. disaster nearly struck on the way back as my friend ” Buffalo Bill” ( cody NO , silence of the lambs YES ) fell down a hole in the ferry in the pitch black luckily i heard him shout and managed to pull him out before he disappeared altogether.
I finally got around to removing the the water tanks that i had thought collapsed due to the ground pressure …. first i had to remove a 6 inch concrete cap on each tank started with a sledge hammer and progressed on to a Jigga Pick very quickly and was helped by the ” Man Mountain” once the concrete was removed i used the truck to haul the tanks out ..only to find the builder had put off cut tiles next to the plastic tank which had cut through the tank….. Asshole is the only word that comes to mind..
When Slim and Chunky were here we brewed some orange wine .. we got 20 litres of Chateau de Nooti …. it was OK for a first attempt and cost £3 to make we used old 2 litre rum bottles ..which was quite a chore drinking the contents to make sure we had enough bottles for the wine ..of course we saved all the rum bottles from slim and chunky’s visit with the ones from the Realmy’s visit…