It was because of the Belizean staff at Island Expeditions that Belize lassoed itself around my heart.
From the minute I arrived- I was welcomed and fed like one of her own.
The stories and lives of the people, their kind charm, love of their land & sea taught me many things.
The story of the Belize is a history of the Mayans, Hispanic, Amish and the Garinagu people coming together to share the land and their unique Creole language.
At our camp on Glover’s reef, many of the staff are Garifuna. The true introduction into their culture came on day 6 of the trip, the final night for the first group. After an awesome dinner, the festivities began with “the Paranda” the welcoming dance. The drums and maracas were brought out and their history and significance explained. Music plays an important role in the lives of the Garinagu. A form of expression, celebration, mourning, welcoming and meditation.
In Dangriga city, Austin Rodrigues and his daughters continue the art of drum making. Using mahogany, palm or cedar woods and various animals skins to construct the primro (the base drum) and the segondo (the rhythm). Fishing lines are strapped across the top of the drum, braced with sticks and rope to create the unique sound. The spice of the music comes from the maracas. Maracas are made from a hard-shelled fruit, whereby a hole is drilled and the fruit is left to dry. The seeds will harden and finally it fruit is sealed with a stick.
Andi Pallacio, a Garinagu musician forged his way onto the International music seen in 2007, before his tragic death is 2008. His legacy lives on through the wheels he set in motion to preserve the music, language and culture of the Garinagu people. His album Watina is available on ITunes and is awesome.