Ruins of a sugar mill in Lamanai, Belize


broken gears in the back-wm
Abandoned gears (the ones in the back are broken)

broken engine colored-wm

oblique angle tree and sugar mill-wm
Up close and within

Amidst a rain forest we expect to find a lot of things, but it is rare to find a dilipidated sugar mill. I would think that was interesting enough, however, how the rain forest is taking back its land is a sight in itself, even if the sugar mill had not had an interesting story.

Except of course, it does! In the 1850s, the British Hyde, Hodge and company having high aspirations in commercial sugar production and sale in Honduras decided to construct a sugar mill at a site in Lamanai area, called the Indian Church (although the church in this region had been built by the Spanish invaders after razing a Maya temple). The principal workforce was brought from southern China to run the sugar mill and the take care of the cane plantation (modestly sized at 250 acres). Most of the sugar produced in the 1860s here was devoted to making rum, in fact the workers towards the end of the mill’s short years of function are believed to have been paid with and in rum, our guide said.

Inherently poor in design, with the engine separated by an impractical distance from its boiler and the crusher set far from the evaporation tank, the mill probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. Additionally, the cone gears with missing teeth indicate the worker’s had little knowledge of this kind of work, probably rice farmers originally!  By the end of the first decade the mill was already headed spirally downwards. By 1880s the site was abandoned to the mercy of the rain forest. And it is working towards gladly taking back what was its own.

The site was beautiful, and would be easy to find once you are in Lamanai outpost, however do not dare go without bug spray the mosquitoes get you and I still have bite marks from December!

machinery-sugar mill

I am slightly crazy and totally sarcastic, with a nasty icing of cynicism. I exude pessimistic vibes every now and then. However, I do actively look for things that make me happy, like birds, damselflies and dragonflies, mountains and of course, books. Generous, inspiring people and people who enjoy what they do for a living while being good at it, make me feel like it is, after all, worthwhile being human. I hope to write about things in a way that makes them interesting.. and makes me more human-like. No matter how many times I rewrite this, still comes out corny. I give up

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