Bush Weed – West End, Roatan

All my new-found friends around West End had copious amounts of dope and kept me well supplied with big fat reefers, didn’t even want any money. Pretty relaxed in West End.

I got to know one guy my age, Michael, pretty well. He was a big doper and we’d hang out at night by the beach smoking huge spliffs. His family had an inland property and he had worked on cruise ships around the Caribbean. He was good company, care-free and easy-going. One night I asked him where he got his weed.

“Mon, I grow it. We all do,” he said, “I’ll take you tomorrow to see.”

The next day I walked over to Michael’s place, about a half mile from the beach, along a small sandy track. Met his mama, a nice lady. She served tea and freshly-baked coconut-banana bread, quite formal. I then followed Michael past the banana trees and coconut palms, along a faint path into the thick undergrowth behind the corn, peppers and chillies.

“Watch for ticks, they be dread.”

Soon we came to a small overgrown clearing. Michael proudly pointed out about two dozen bright green dope plants, all sizes and shapes, popping up amongst the weeds. Some were mature with big crystalline buds, fat and pale green, at the tips of the largest plants. Others were just starting to flower. Seedlings were sprouting up. They all looked very well-tended.

“We grow all year,” explained Michael, “always planting, always picking.” He topped a mid-sized plant with a pungent bud, about six inches long, and led me over to an unobtrusive shack lashed together with palm fronds. Inside hung about a dozen incredibly beautiful buds at different stages of curing. Michael tied up the new bud and took down the darkest, driest one.

“This one’s ready.” He licked together a bunch of cigarette papers, pulled off a small handful of flowers from the big colla – complete with the resin-covered leaves – crumpled it all into the papers and expertly rolled a giant spliff. Pow.

Could barely remain upright as Michael pulled a few weeds, moved some dirt around and watered the plants. “Life is easy here in West End,” he said. “We get food from our land, fish from the sea and timber from the forest. The climate suits us. The Spaniards (ie the Honduran Government) leave us alone. We can work across the water if we need money. We like the slow pace.”

“But it’s changing,” he confided. “More tourists, people coming in, wanting to buy land. Talk of a new road. Even a hotel. In West End, our way of life is ‘Take what you need, not what you want’. It works for us, but not with outsiders. They take what they want, far beyond their needs.”

Published by Phil Parent

Phil Parent is a geographer residing in Queenstown New Zealand.

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