Thursday, May 21, 2015
Today at the worksites we had the pleasure of cutting down some acacia plants. Acacia plants are not a fun plant to work with. They are an invasive plant that has thorns that vary in size, but can be big enough to stab through your shoe and into your foot
It was not pleasant, but it was instant gratification. You could see all of the work that you had done right there. The plants were done and there were no more thorns sticking out on the trail. It was pretty hard work and it hurt, but nothing is better than being about to see your results right away. And on the plus side it wasn’t as hot on this trail as it was on the previous one. Our workday ended up being a short one so that was a very nice perk of today. The work day was super satisfying and I’m glad it’s done!
When we got back from working, our next planned trip was the hike to Maroon Ridge. I had learned a little bit of the history before we left, and I know it was a pretty sacred place, but I didn’t know too much. On the way up, Olasse Davis, our tour guide, was telling us about the plants up there and the trees and everything, but when we got up there, we got to the real history that no one ever heard about. Maroon Ridge is a place where maroon slaves (slaves who escaped) ran to. St. Croix is a small island. They had nowhere to run besides the other side of the island or hiding in cliffs, and that’s what they did. Once they made it to the top, they lived up there until they knew someone was coming after them.
And once they knew that, they had to make the decision of, do I let myself be caught and suffer the brutal consequences, or do I jump off of the ridge sending my spirit back to Africa and killing myself. A lot of Maroons decided to jump.
They weren’t about to get their hands or feet or even necks cut off for running away for their freedom. Olasse was telling us that if they were caught and their necks were cut off, the necks would be hung around town as a warning sign as to not run away. This place has so much history that it overwhelmed me and I almost started crying. It was just so appalling to me that people could treat people so poorly that they would rather jump than be caught. I mean I was literally standing at the edge where people could have jumped. Standing up there just gave me the feels.
It was such a beautiful place, but the history just made it a place where I did not feel like I should be there very long. I would like to go up there to think and to learn more about the history, but I could not go up there again just for an enjoyable hike. Maroon Ridge deserves a lot of respect and I just don’t think I was giving it all that it deserved.
After the overwhelming Maroon Ridge trip, we all went out to Lost Dog for dinner! They have really good pizza and it was nice to spend time all together in a relaxed setting. We even got to put our names on the wall with chalk! It was a fun night for sure. I love this group of girls and guy. We all are so nice and welcoming to anyone. I feel like I really fit in here and they are all making this experience a million times better.
Day 8 down, 10 to go.