Belize would not be the Belize that we know and love if it wasn’t for the many contributions of the Garifuna, and their proud history if one of the most interesting and enduring sagas humanity has known, beginning with a fateful shipwreck off St Vincent’s Island in the Caribbean in the 1600s, when surviving African slaves made it to shore and mixed with the local Arawak, or Carib, population.
We were returning from our ecolodge in Belize’s tropical heartland to the Belize City municipal airport. There, we would take a short flight to the southern state of Toledo. On the way, our driver asked our permission to pick up a woman waiting at a lonesome bus stop in the countryside. He knew her as the wife of a farmer and she was taking a basket of squash to market. We exchanged small talk and when she left the van, she turned to me and said, “Little Belize has a lot of richness but nobody pays no mind.”