Thursday, October 21, 2010
Áhari and Gangadiwali on a Deeper Level
Garífuna spirituality is what I am dealing with here. Áhari, if you remember, is the soul of a dearly departed loved one. You see, Garífunas believe that there is an after-life on the other side. I am comfortable with the term reincarnation because some of us have been here before. For the Garinagu, this life was created by God as a vehicle on which you and I can travel from one side to the other.
Gangadiwali is a specific parcel of land in Quehueche (a municipality here in Livingston) that includes the well-known site of Los Siete Altares waterfalls. To give you an idea of how large it is, you could walk for almost an hour past the waterfalls and you will still be on Gangadiwali. This very large piece of land is sacred to the Garínagu; this is the site upon which the Garífuna buye (spiritual leader) Fermín Arzú built the Garífuna Temple, one of the largest temples in the Garífuna nation (Belize, Guatemala and Honduras).
Gangadiwali has been Garífuna owned and tended since the first Garífunas settled in Labuga in the early 19th century; it was purchased by a Garifuna visionary who had the foresight to legally secure this land and the brilliance to realize its potential value. He and thousands of áhari continue to dwell on and protect Gangadiwali. Although tourists from all over the world and even our own Chapines (Guatemalans) may visit Gangadiwali, it will only be inherited by a Garífuna. This is why I refer to it as the “Promised Land”, as if it were promised and blessed specifically to the Garinagu by God.
The áhari of all Garínagu keep watch over Gangadiwali, which is why this it is so potent and sacrosanct to us. When you visit Los Siete Altares waterfalls, feel free to swim, dive and frolic in its waters knowing that you are a visitor to the cradle of Garífuna spirituality.