Archive for the ‘Belize’ Category
On September 22, 2013 in Belize
You would think you were at a wedding reception dancing the night away to an Earth, Wind and Fire cover band every time you hear their top-of-the-charts tune about the 21st of September. Released in 1978, the track builds up and unleashes a thrilling happiness that comes from pure freedom. ~The groove is right and night is alllllright~ It was the month of September when composer and lyricist banded together. One had influenced the other, but both had been on a roll with spiritual inspiration when they produced the song that would remain a legacy. And while few theories circulate about the significance of the 21st of September, the truth is, it just sounded phonetically right. “Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders, while chasing the clouds away. Our hearts were singing, in the key that our souls were singing…as we danced in the night away.” This song is undoubtedly the ultimate feel-good song.
As we celebrated the 32nd anniversary of Belizean independence yesterday, we all enjoyed the accoutrements of Independence Day -the colorful parade, the fireworks, the parties, the reason to gather. We had taught our school children the vital history of September 21st and mark it as the day to raise our flag and celebrate. What we often feel but understate, no matter where in the world, is the sheer feel-good sentiment of being independent and being free, the exact feeling you get from relishing in your favorite feel-good song! Tracing the roots of Belize Independence, we find that it was 20-year buildup of drawn out negotiations over a land dispute with Guatemala. A previous treaty awarded Belize more land under specific conditions which Guatemala claimed were never met. Great Britain had long acknowledged Belize’s anticipation for self-governance since 1961 when Belize sought the world stage for recognition and support. During that same period, Colonialism had already come to a wane, but Guatemala’s border dispute with Belize prolonged its independence as it required Great Britain’s protection against Guatemala’s threat of force. After 20 years of negotiations and lobbying within the United Nations, Belize became an independent nation. Unlike The Earth, Wind and Fire, the 21st of September is a day of particular significance which trickles down from history as the day to celebrate independence and reflect on some of the pure things are simply universal. The right to be free. The right to be independent. The right to self-govern. The right to party.
Happy Independence Day Belize! We had a great day!
Seasons cycle, and September begins. Among many things, September brings a window portal into the local scene.
September brings the classic feel of Caye Caulker, the feel of a quaint fishing village captured in a 1960s shot with a filmy grain photo filter that emits the relaxation and serenity of an undiscovered tropical paradise. The sun and the moon dictate the only concept of time; nothing is gained nor lost in a few minutes of time, so don’t rush. Throw yourself into a timeless bliss. September brings the true essence of our motto, “Go Slow,” that invites a spirit of renewal. Travelers, backpackers, and vacationers –all those who visit need no agenda. Come and just be. The sea is yours. Camouflage yourself against the mosaic strips of aqua and blue. It’s a time when the island truly feels as though it were your own, the time of year when visitors are caught into devotion and fall into the temptation of making Caye Caulker a permanent place of retreat.
For residents, September brings a slight pause in the hustle of daily business, but brings in the bustle of a new school year. As parents align fresh uniforms for their children and tighten their children’s schedules, children in turn enjoy a brand new set of school supplies, and brag about their next grade level. It’s a time when parents, all too much, seem as if it were they themselves returning to school as they gear their children back towards a studious mindset.
For the Northern Hemisphere, summer is over, but for our tropical zone, the warmth continues. And while September brings a picturesque, slower pace, the party continues. September brings holidays, and days off -reasons to gather and stay festive with celebrations to honor the country’s two most important national holidays: The Battle of St. George’s Caye, and Independence Day. Here on Caye Caulker, proud business owners raise the Belizean flag and dress their storefronts with blue and red streamers, while others drape blue and red fiesta flags through and across Caye Caulker’s Front Street. Throughout the country, Belizeans commemorate the two events with back to back cultural festivities which can last up to three weeks, kicking off as early as September 1st with speeches, contests, and performances, then onto September 10th to commemorate The Battle of St. George’s Caye, often with a traditional regatta, and continuing on until September 21st with a Carnival to celebrate the day Belize received its independence from Great Britain. On Caye Caulker, residents will be enjoying mini parades along Front Street, a fair, and ceremonies at the Palapa Beach. Visitors, frequent or new, will connect with the quaint feel September brings.
With heartfelt pride and solidarity, we highlight the social initiatives and large strides Belizean NGO, Special Envoy has implemented and continues to implement with its mission of “advancing the welfare and well-being of Belizean Children.” Today the Belizean community joins together in raising funds towards the Inspiration Center, a facility benefitting disadvantaged and differently abled children in need of physical, speech, occupational, or mental therapy, rehabilitation, as well as education. With children comprising nearly 50% of the Belizean population, it becomes imperative to ensure that children have access and mobility towards a quality of life. Special Envoy encourages all sectors of society to pitch in and indeed, it takes a village to raise a child.
Today, the second annual telethon will take place with donation booths set up in different communities throughout the country. Here on Caye Caulker, the donation booth will be located at Jan’s Place on Front Street. Last year, the telethon raised $500,000 USD which went to constructing the building. This year, the telethon hopes to target another $500,000 USD to cover costs of the facility’s equipment. We are inspired by the action and effort that carries the hope of our children in need, and we are blessed to experience the community spirit that embodies the Belizean community.
If you wish to learn more about the Inspiration Center and Special Envoy, or participate by donation, please view complete information from this link: Inspiration Center – Second Annual Telethon.
We have to be proud of our environmental pioneers here in Belize as they have every intention of ensuring our reef retains and indeed flourishes under their guidance! The Belize Shark Project, just one of those groups have spent the last two weeks recording data of the various sharks in the area and tagging them at the same time.
The purpose of this is to protect the ever decreasing shark population on our reef due to fishing . Sharks are apex predators that sit at or near the top of the food chain. They are vital components of healthy and functional marine ecosystems, playing key roles in structuring fish communities and fostering reef resilience.
The research enables us to understand better the habits and habitats of the sharks up in Northern Belize. With sharks maturing so slowly it is important that they all reach the age to reproduce and also ensure that their breeding grounds are not disturbed by any fishing whatsoever. The BSP has been there to educate the general public as to why they should not eat and fish shark and also lobby for additional rules and regulations to safe-guard these amazing fish.
The research areas were the Corazol bay, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve with our Nurse Sharks. The key drivers behind this project is the well regarded Rachel Graham – Marine Biologist and active Environmentalist (in fact participating on one of the outings was a gentleman writing and article on Rachel for Mens Journal), much of the Belize Dive Services staff (including Chip Petersen the owner) and Hllmar.
The work is time consuming and expensive but our marine environmental warriors continually strive to protect what arguably is Belize’s jewel in her crown – thank you to all concerned!!
And they are here … what you might ask … the Sandflies!! As October the 1st hit (the normal time of the year for these pesky creatures to appear) these tiny little irritants appeared here in Caye Caulker, and probably the rest of Belize too!!
Sandflies, sandflies, sand gnat or no-see-um/ noseeum – they are all the same, a tiny midge. No bigger than a pin head they almost seem like flying dust but their bite is more ferocious than that of a mosquito! They live in the sand and therefore they are attracted to white and light and therefore anybody with pale skin (and particularly those who are new to these parts like tourists) beware! Red itchy bumps appear that may well turn into a rash for those who have not had the fortune to bump into these creatures before – for us locals we are still left with an intense itching sensation without any marks. Neither scenario is pleasant!
The only prevention (and it is indeed 100% effective and indeed environmentally friendly) is baby oil. Agreed you lube your body up sufficiently enough that you look like you want to enter a ‘strong man’ competition and indeed you may slide off any seat you may choose to sit upon, however, those suckers wings just clog up in the oil and they die a pleasant death!!
This period and their time with us, in our experience is short lived – the higher winds that come to us at the end of October flush their presence out here on the island entirely – for this we are blessed and therefore we will bide our time and baby oil ourselves up each day with much humor. In the meantime, think of us and our little critters and say a tiny little prayer that they are gone as quick as they came!!
We have always known we are special but it is always flattering when the leader of environmental issues and photography decide to focus their latest issue on our reef!!
The Mesoamerican Reef region lies within the Caribbean Sea and touches the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. It contains the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching nearly 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through the Honduran Bay Islands. The greater part of this reef residing in Belizean waters.
National Geographic have highlighted the features of the reef, a number of which have been photographed in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the majority of which have been taken somewhere in Belize!
The article is excellent for Belize and those interested in snorkeling, scuba diving and the marine environment in general as it indicates that it is a far healthier and abundant than its larger counterpart over in Australia – big up Belize!!!
For us Belizean’s it is the holiday of the year, the one that everybody, and I mean everybody, celebrates the birth of their independence back 31 years ago. Here in Caye Caulker the streets have been adorned with the red, white and blue of the Belizean flag for the entire month of September but it is really the 20th and 21st on the Caye that we really celebrate the month.
The eve of Independence was Thursday night and all islanders, from young to old were out to watch the spectacle of the fireworks – they did not disappoint, and for tourists in the crowd they were treated to a display of international standards to see in our 21st!
And then onto the parade … it is a spectacle that probably only us islanders can really appreciate – one that brings smiles on every bodies faces for their hearts burn with Belizean pride as we dance in the streets. It is the one day of the year that you can see all that characters that you know and love in a different light … the staff of Atlantic bank synchronizing themselves to Byron Lee plusLouise Aguilar and her aerobic class never disappoint!!
Music and food continued on in the Park for the rest of the afternoon and into the night … right up until the heavens opened with what feels like the first real rain since July!!!
Well done again to all concerned – Independence remains one of my most favorite of holidays!!!
The pride of all Belizean’s overflows during the month of September and nowhere better can it be seen than during the Carnival to celebrate the 10th September. This Saturday, was no exception. The city comes alive as its inhabitants prepare for this annual spectacle.
Like many countries around the world, Belize is totally broke – and with 90% of Belizeans under the poverty line, you would have expected the budget for what some may consider, non-necessities (like costumes for Carnival) being low or non existant. But this Saturday showed us all Belize’s heart, her pride and her glory in full color on the streets of Belize as float after float slowly paraded down the streets. Belizeans expressed their love for their country as they danced to celebrate their independence and 10th September – and they did so in style!
From the Caribbean flavor of the Coca Cola truck’s steel drum pirates to Lova Boy singing live on the Belikin truck – the crowd were wowed with crew after crew’s performance and costumes. Yes the country is in desperate need of financial assistance – but what is clear is that the country is bursting with National pride and is fully capable of putting on a parade to rival that of Rio itself!!
This is the month where we in Belize and Caye Caulker celebrate two significant dates in Belize’s history – firstly 10th September – the Battle of St Georges Caye, where the Baymen fought off the Spaniards to defend their territory. And secondly 21st September is Belize’s Independence.
So the month of September becomes one that we find every reason to party or even to adorn our houses, our golf carts and even ourselves in National pride – red, white and blue! Tomorrow, many (not all) will travel to the City to watch the carnival take place – this is a colorful extravaganza in notably sweltering heat!!
So … as the celebrations begin … we wish to welcome in the month of September and enjoy all it has to offer us!!
Friday will be the night of great celebration when Paradiso’s Outdoor Cinema will present Belize’s first motion picture – Kurse a Di Xtabai!
This movie was not only filmed in Belize, by an all Belizean cast and crew but it is also in Kriol!! The film is a supernatural thriller that is set to impress and along with the fact that the screening will also have the cast making an appearance, it sure is something that we should not miss!!
So come on out and support Belize’s first motion picture – showings are on Friday 7th September at 6.30pm and 8.30pm and tickets can be bought in advance from Paradiso Cafe!