Waking up in the hotel at Dangriga was, kind of refreshing, seeing the sun come up over the ocean, hearing the waves roll in, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, without air conditioning and a couple other comforts from the beaches in Alabama, it just starts feeling hot and salty after about an hour in the open air. All in all it was not a bad experience, just different from a normal day at the beach for the group.
The town of Dangriga is located on the coast (obviously) and show signs of dealing with hurricanes and other heavy storms which roll out of the ocean.
I talked with the owner of the hotel and he reiterated some of the thoughts of some of the other Belizeans who feel that outsiders and foreigners are negatively impacting Belize. He was very critical of wealthy people who brought in idealistic plans that would shake up the way that the people lived, and then fall apart for one reason or another and cause havoc with people’s lives. He felt like the community would take care of itself, and that the outside “help” just messes up the overall nature of Belizean culture.
Next we had breakfast at the Pelican Beach Resort on the other side of Dangriga…very nice…unfortunatly they also followed the Belizean protocol of taking a good while to serve breakfast. So a somewhat typical meal in Belize .I never really noticed just how fast american resturants were, and how impatient we are until now.
After that we went to the Guilsi Museum and heard two lectures about the Garifuna people, their history, their culture, what certain things mean, and how they practice certain aspects of their culture.
One of the practices that the Garifuna did was making Cassava bread, and the process was very complex. The Garifuna would harvest the cassava, cut the skin off, then they ground the cassava with grinding boards that were made to fit each woman individually. After this they washed the ground cassava and placed it into a long braided bag (a bit like a giant Chinese finger trap) and applied weight which added pressure and extracted the toxin in the cassava. Afterward they would cook the cassava and make bread.
One of the more interesting things that I saw is the Garifuna culture seems to be propagated and continued by the women, mainly because the women made up the bread, and appeared in the cultural video to be the ones who were continuing to teach the Garifuna ways. I might be mistaken but that is how I saw it.
Another practice that I found interesting is that one of their dances features a costume with a crown with macaw feathers, a pink mask and shell knee coverings. One of the lecturers told me that the entire point of this costume and dance was to mimic and to a point mock the English who controlled had forced the Garifuna from their homeland in St. Vincent.
After the lectures, which presented some new information that I would like to research the group headed back into town and had dinner at the Pelican Beach Resort again.