Sanchez has one leg that is shorter than the other one after half
that leg was cut away at the hip in a Belize City hospital's operating
room after he was shot in a shootout. Regardless of the shorter
leg, Roy can still chop you a single track trail through the thickest
of the Belizean jungle bush. And if it should start to rain while
you are out there in the thick of it all, "No problem ma-an".
For Roy Sanchez will attack a Manaca palm tree, trim off the leaves,
and on the spot he will make you a thatch shelter from the storm.
How do I know this? I know this because I have seen the man do
it, time and time again.
first met Roy Sanchez when I was in his home village of San Ignacio
deep in the western mountains of the Central American country
of Belize, formerly British Honduras near the Guatemalan border.
I happened to be there looking at several parcels of land for
sale that the seller was advertising had 'unearthed Mayan temples'
on the property.
real estate agent was a shady character involved deeply on the
seller's end. He was so shady that he would not even show me the
land himself, opting instead to hook me up with two of his foremen.
The 'foremen' were even sleazier than the real estate agent. And
because the piece of land was so remote, they employed the services
of no one other than Roy Sanchez to cut back the jungle bush to
the parcel of land I was interested in seeing.
Roy Sanchez is of African heritage. He knows nothing of Africa,
but only that where he now lives his people have always lived.
Roy's father Melville also agrees. And seemingly Roy Sanchez also
has no understanding of racial prejudices as he explained to me
straightforwardly that his skin and my skin are exactly the same.
As he quite poignantly put it, "No difference ma-an.. Not
even in d'color ma-an".
this I have to say I told Roy Sanchez he must surly be crazy.
I have even gone so far as to compare arm to arm his skin to mine,
and the differences are most obvious. But Roy does not see a difference.
For Roy Sanchez has a giving and caring heart and a personal philosophy
founded in the basic premise of 'one sky one people'. Roy
has become a good friend to me since we first met. He has always
been a great father to his son Kevin and a loving husband to his
Maria. And Roy Sanchez is already a man, probably a great deal
more than I might ever become. I think I realized it first when
we were looking over that first piece of land.
we were, the two foremen sitting in the front of the small pick-up
truck, with Roy and his two dogs and myself, the intrepid explorer,
all riding in the back. After driving as far as the road could
take us, Roy was then instructed to take me deeper into the Belizean
jungle bush to locate the tract of land. Although he looked as
though he had no idea as to the actual location of the land, all
the same Roy Sanchez assured me we would indeed find it. It was
also agreed that once we were to the said land, Roy would then
assist me in taking soil samples from the four corner markers
of the property. The two foremen wanted to have nothing to do
with traipsing off into the Belizean hinterland with some gringo
like me. But they had no problem sending Roy and his dogs out
with me to take all the soil I could muster. So off we went along
with Roy's two Rottweiler dogs, appropriately named Tough and
Killer. We waived goodbye to the two foreman in the truck and
headed off into the jungle.