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Charley and the Wolfs started their year off with a new addition to the family. Where there had been three Wolfs there now were four. They aptly named the new member of the family Panama for the country Charley and his wife held fond memories for, not necessarily because of their time spent at the canal zone watching the massive cruise ships and freighters squeeze through but for the Greek salads and Balboa beers that made the oppressive heat somewhat bearable.

The Wolfs though were fortunate, far more than their fellow Belizeans who awoke one Friday morning in mid January to discover that the few luxuries they were afforded to make their lives tolerable were levied by new taxation. As the Wolfs had discovered in the year they had been in the land by the Caribe Sea, Belizeans loved to drink their beer and their rum. The tax man realized this too, and so on the anointed day when the government announced its new reforms, the per barrel beer tax was raised considerable while the rum tax jumped one hundred per cent.

At first the Wolfs thought they had escaped unscathed. But in time they too realized that the long arm of the taxman with his reforms would affect their days in paradise. For as foreigners that were allowed to enjoy the natural beauty of Belize by paying a month-to-month fee for a tourist card, when they presented themselves to the Immigration and Naturalization officer to get their scheduled extension, they discovered that the fees had doubled. Where they once had thought that the government of Belize was welcoming them with open arms, they now realized that for a family of four they would be accessed two hundred Belize per month if they intended to stay.

Indeed, the price one must pay to live in paradise was beginning to put a tight grip upon the shoestring budget that the Wolfs had allocated for themselves to live in the tropics. With the budget for building a home in the bush almost doubling when the Wolfs contractor miscalculated and in the end walked off the job before the house was complete, the new burdens placed upon them with the increases for their tourist extensions forced the family to re-think their approaches to paradise.

First, Charley had to stop drinking rum all together and had to settle on six bottles of beers per week. For an Austrian who was used to spending summers sipping liters of white wine mixed proportionately with energized water, this was borderline embarrassing.

As for the weekly religious domino games on Sunday at the local cool spot, Charley had to inform the proprietor Lester that he would have to cancel his reserved seat at the table under the shade of the thatch all together. And then there was the matter of the local Belize Maya man that the Wolfs paid each month to cut back the encroaching jungle. Sadly, Charley had to sit down with the father of nine that depended upon Charley for the financial survival of he and his family to inform the aging man that he could no longer afford to pay the monthly salary and the social security payments. Charley's only choice in these times of fiscal restraints would be to simply buy his own machete and do the task himself.

As for the family, Ms. Wolf knew she had to do what she could do to cutback, so she had to tell the Garifuna woman that helped her with Charley Junior and their new daughter Panama as well as the cooking in the kitchen champa. This was particularly hard on the woman who had only the year before lost her husband. The Wolfs had been providing her with a basic income and had also paid her extra each week to go into the nearby village to shop with Ms. Wolf at the weekly market. This in turn gave her an opportunity to buy vegetables and fruits that she took back to her home village at the end of the week where she sold them in a small pulperia out of the front room of her house. Without the job with the Wolfs, there would be no money to buy the staples, no money to get to the weekly market, and no way to sustain the pulperia.

It was really tough on the elder Wolfs, for they were already struggling to survive and the Maya Belize man that helped Mr. Wolf with maintaining the property and the Garifuna woman that helped with the chores of raising the children played an integral role in the Wolf household. However, it was even tougher on the younger Charley, for he had grown quite accustomed to the Garifuna woman that was almost like a second mama to him.

Together Charley Junior and the Garifuna woman spent their days exchanging customs. Young Charley taught the lady he loved with all his little heart broken pieces of conversational German while she taught him about her people. During the heat of the mid day they would lounge about in a hammock and the Garifuna woman would tell young Charley about how her people had come to Belize centuries before from the Bay Islands of Honduras and before that Africa. She told the young boy how they came to Belize in order to build them and theirs a future along the shores of the Caribe Sea and how they settled in places called Punta Negra, Barranco, Hopkins and Dangriga.

And the cultural exchanges were not simply between the young boy and the aging Garifuna lady, for Charley Senior learned a lot from his days spent in the surrounding landscape with the Belize Maya man that he so depended upon. It was in the bush with the man and his machete where Charley learned about the birds and the trees as well as the bush remedies that could save a man's life. Charley had learned a lot from the Maya man, and he had him to thank for the name they came up to refer to the homestead the Wolfs now were calling their home.

The two men were walking in the jungle one day when the rains ran up upon them. They found some shelter in a cave that the Maya man knew to exist and so they crawled into the hole in the ground to wait for the sunshine to return. As they sat there, Charley asked the Maya man, "Santiago, how would you say in your language, mother-father-child?"

As Mr. Santiago thought in silence long and hard about the question, he turned to his friend and employer said, "Although I am Kekchi I will give you my answer in Mopan". Referring to the two primary dialects of the Belize Maya language, he then told Mr. Wolf, "mother-father-child is translated from English to Maya as na'taat paal." From that day forward the Wolfs have referred to their piece of paradise as the na'taat paal jungle camp.


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