Me and my homeboy from Texas Ed Jenkins, the man who came to Belize almost 40 years ago from the “jungle” in LA and quickly established himself as a shaman and master of healing arts, acupuncture included. The theme of the benefit was, “Time to help our healer heal.” Ed had brain surgery six weeks ago but you wouldn’t have known it watching him dance and play his drum.
So a large time was had by all at the benefit held for my best bud in Belize–he who is the best bud to a lot of people in western Belize–complete with wine or rum drinks, great food, a live auction and a silent one, too, at the fabulous Orange Gallery, a fabulous one-stop, roadside attraction that has a first-class outdoor restaurant, a hotel and a sprawling shop featuring Belizean arts and crafts, Belizean clothing, hand-made furniture, jewelry and more.
Ed lost his dreadlocks to brain surgery, but hasn’t lost his mojo on de drum. Here he is playing a Jimmy Buffet coconut song with the colorful western Belize musician “Barefoot Skinny.” Mind you–this is a mere six weeks after brain surgery–and a followup surgery for some “cleanup,” as the doc put it.He and Ed played in a band together years ago doing regular gigs at the Orange Gallery.
On the left is expat Josiah, who has a healing retreat center across the road from the Orange Gallery. The Orange Gallery is owned by Julian Sherrar on the right. Julian was born on the famous hippy commune “The Farm” in Tennessee. I actually saw the HBO documentary about “The Farm” last year, but Julian himself hasn’t seen it! “I’ve heard about it and heard it’s really good,” he said. His hippy parents moved to BZ when he was a small child and quickly got to know Ed Jenkins, so Julian and his entire family are close to the Bryan, Texas-born shaman. Like Ed, Julian has a wealth of stories to tell about his days growing up in BZ with his seriously hippy folks, and that includes lots of great yarns about Ed.
Julian’s Orange Gallery, a first-class roadside attraction on the Western Highway near San Ignacio, BZ.
Speaking of hippies: That would be Mary and her husband “Sparkles” (I’ve no idea if he has a regular name) cutting git up on the dance floor. They left the rat race in Boston three years ago and came to BZ to chill and find their inner hippiness. Belize is full of those types, people looking to get out of the concrete jungles and get back to simple, fun living.
Expat Suzi, who is from Florida but is Ed’s business partner at “Mo Life,” their acupuncture studio. (Ed learned acupuncture from a Chinese master in Los Angeles before bring his skills to BZ. She’s also writing a book about the testimonials from people about shaman Ed’s healing powers. Many Belizeans and expats swear he has given them miracle cures when medicine didn’t work. In fact, just about everyone at the benefit has a testimonial about Jenkins. It’s why so many rallied to put up the cash in advance for the brain surgery he needed.
Tennessee-born Julian and his Belizean wife chilling at their Orange Gallery resort. “My parents, my siblings, my wife and now my children all love Ed Jenkins–he’s practically family,” Julian said. “And talk about courageous–it takes real courage to submit yourself to BRAIN SURGERY in Belize.” Indeed, it’s not exactly famous for anything like quality medical care. In fact, The country’s only neurosurgeon–who performed the successful surgery on Ed’s brain–only arrive a couple of years ago in Belize from Mexico. But nice to know we actually have a good brain surgeon here in this crazy country.
That another Texas expat, Mo from Austin, who along with his wife Irene (below) came to Belize a long, long time ago, on a sailboat, and stayed. They opened a beach resort at Caye Caulker–a popular place called The Lazy Iguana–that they still own. But they moved inland a few years ago. They built the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen up in Pine Ridge Mountain and have taken in Ed Jenkins to convalesce at their place all these weeks since his surgery. Mo and Irene are incredibly adventurous as well as generous,, like so many expats who re-locate to BZ. They moved around for seven years on that sailboat!
The aforementioned Irene, who with her man Mo has traveled the world and the seven seas like she’s Annie Lennox or something.
That’s Misty, originally from Washington State, who’s traveled and lived all over BZ. She loves her some Papa Ed Jenkins and he looks after Miss Misty.
Two expats (left) and one Belizean blood, chillin’ on a beautiful day in BZ…
Ed’s friends come in all age groups.
Yes, all ages.
What’s a benefit dance and auction without too much fabulous food and drink?
Until next time, jitterbug dancers …
76-year-old Ed Jenkins says, “Keep your jitterbug mojo bangin’.”