Belize Update- November 27,2016


Aquechewa everybody, the time has come for new adventures in Central America at our winter school in Belize.

Thanks to the help of our brothers and sisters kinfolk with F.I.A.A.H, the trip to Belize was smooth sailing, this trip I did not trek thru Mexico, I came straight to Belize international airport.. I did find it interesting that the flight was full and most of the people to my surprise were not tourist, but people who have moved there, going to different parts of the country. I am going to the most southern part of Belize, the last town in Belize located in the heart of Garifuna territory. The trip by express bus to Punta Gorda is 6 hours. I arrived in Belize City around 1 pm central time.

I had just enough time in Belize city to go fabric shopping, I am going to make curtains and seat covers for the house decor in keeping with the soilful texture of the building and stop by my favorite eatery called Ditts. Ditts restaurant and bakery makes the best Belizean coconut pies and pastries, they are only open to 3pm, and like everything in Belize,if it is slow it closes early or does not open at all.. I have come to Belize City a few times just to find out NO DITTS. So I was elated to see it open!! The last bus leaving to Punta Gorda is at 3;30 pm , it is an express air conditioned greyhound type bus, it stops and picks up in all the major town going south of Belize City very nice ride. To my surprise I just about knew everybody on the bus, they too was returning back to Punta Gorda, Belize . The trip went fast from listening to all the updates on what’s happening with who since I left. There was so many changes, that I had to wonder if I was only gone 6 months. I knew I was in for some serious challenges myself. I heard how bad the weather has been here, first severe dry weather, now severe raining, causing flooding. Due to the location of the Luk Makoo campus, we are on a higher elevation, however, the run off from the roof is a major problem, and has caused the house to flood several times. I received a call from my neighbor in Belize informing me to get here as soon as I can, there is severe damage to the house. Torrential rains has caused flash flooding, the house accumulated 4 feet of water,. So I am prayerful the whole house is not leveled.

I arrived in PG around 9pm. The weather when it is not raining , is warm from the lower 80’s to the high 80’s. This time of year is perfect short sleeve and tee shirt weather. It is also a good time to plant trees and some the kitchen greens. Yum Yummmm!!!!


Garifuna Heritage Weekend

I decided to stay in town for the annual Garifuna Heritage celebration of Settlement day.

The Garifuna people are the original indigenous displaced peoples of ST. Vincent Island. The British Armanda was attacking there island to seize the people to enslave them during the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. The males stayed behind to fight off the British,25000 or more females ,children and young males in boats were sent into the sea, to find a new coastal location in America for a safe place. They travelled with the currents for a few days and landed on the southern section of Central America today called the Bay of Honduras. At this time the British had not put a claim over this area of America Soil. The Garifuna peoples re- established themselves with coastal towns around the bay of Honduras. Today 3 colonial countries claim over or next to Garifuna areas . Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras . There are 25 or more Garifuna towns. Every year the celebration of heritage settlement day is remembered.

The whole town is decorated in heritage colors banners and banana leaf branches and traditional heritage foods are made. For 3 days before the 19th their is continuous food, drumming, song and dance, on the night of the 18th drumming and celebration is all night then at daybreak the morning of November 19th ,the re enactment of the settlement takes place. This year the 19th fell on a Saturday, the music and drumming started around 8 pm and continued until around 6 am, then the people walked to the shore to watch the re- enactment of settlement, everyone is dresses in heritage colors of the Garifuna Peoples white, black and yellow,. Once re-enactment is finishes there is a parade thru the streets and completes at the Catholic church, where prayer is given for the people .

Since 2010 I have watch the crowds get thinner. Many people come from the States each year with their families to share their heritage story in keeping with the heritage traditions. However most of the new generations do not know their heritage story or their heritage language or the importance of why they should always respect and support their cultural heritage inheritance.

This year at the festival activity games, the children were asked to count in their heritage tongue , the one who could count the most number in there heritage tongue would get 25.00bze. Out of at least 100 children, there was only one young girl at the festival who could vaguely count to five in Garifuna. The elders I was sitting next to were surprised, I was embarrassed for them,. It is clear the Garifuna language is not being taught in school, and the females were not talking in their language at home… Once the current elders pass the language is dead……( their goes their international standing)

Each year the narrative changes and becomes more colonial. Subtlety the narrative is changing to foreigners are the masters (whites) and the indigenous people their subjects /slaves ( blacks) and the real story becomes corrupted. More and more I hear of them now being refugees from Africa. I am seeing firsthand the process of how they are being displaced. . These people are becoming Africaniozed. In ten years or less their will be no heritage celebration, and no rights to Punta Gourda. They will be homeless, a people without a place to live with Earth.

The female elders ( Mothers of the heritage) see it and don’t like this corruption yet fail to speak up about it. Its like they do not know what to do about it. The subtleness of the corruption by the educated Garifuna men in government, is changing their heritage story ,as a result removing their people from their human and fundamental rights to where they live freely with Earth., I guess to get more money from the government for more jobs. The real price they will pay, Instead of jobs, all it is bring is more people who want to own their beaches, In order for this to happen the Garfuna people must be removed from their indigenous America claim to their pre- colonial settlement. What better way to remove a people without a fight than to change the narrative of the origins for the people to Africa. I am watching how this robbery is happening. Its already started , foreigners are converging and settling in on there terretories. They are constantly talking about it and have their eyes open looking for pieces to convert into real estate. I often speak to the people who can make a difference, I find once they are educated they lack the mental capability to use common sense. They see themselves above their people as elitist, and have a deep sense of self hate and collective loathing of their heritage kinfolk. So they do nothing……….

Witnessing what is happening here gives me real insight to how our millions of people over decades into generations lost our Ability to live with our soil inheritance to our heritage blood from Earth.

We simply lost value for it. Our mothers stop thinking about it, to live in colonialism became ,more convenient , so we thought.

The price we pay- we lost our ability to live freely with life,

Convenience came with a heavy price. I will keep putting pressure on the elders to save their people and enact solutions to keep their heritage alive, but the Females have become complaisant as a result of their artificial sense of comfort.

Luk MaKoo Update

I arrived at the house , holding my breath with my fingers crossed, at first everything look fine the front of the house look fine, I opened the door to see the whole backside of the house walls were completely collapsed, the floor was still wet and the walls were saturated with water, the roof was fine, but the extension roof covering the kitchen and bathroom was leaking, adding to the flooding situation.

The good news the electricity walls were intact. To my surprise I did not feel overwhelmed. I felt fine, I was so happy to be there, the coconut tress planted are doing well even the avocado tree. I retrieved my camping tent found a dry place to put it up, and I am ready to fix it up. As I travelled around I saw the rain damage everywhere, cement once saturated stsrts to grow black mold, it looks horrible and sickly, the dampness in the cement stays in the building. Clay on the other hand breathes so there is no mold buildup. The place smells fine.. Thursday my neighbor Mr Burton C sent two workers to put a new roof extension made out of cohoone leaf and they put back and secured the metal roofing. The main reason for the flooding was the drainage system for the shower and the drain trenches were not deep enough to handle the deluge of water running off the roof. This time I am going to put rocks at the bottom about 1 ft -18 inches high, keeping the clay walls from the floor so they can’t saturate from any overflow of water., I did find that the walls can take the water, but they need to dry some before they are damped again, if they don’t the walls keep absorbing water. When I walk into the house it was still wet with water. My neighbor told me when he came by the house had at least 4 feet of standing water in it.. I thought of New Orleans, and my husband house in Philly when a pipe broke and it was flooded, the water damage was over 75,000.00, the house almost had to be gutted. I will not have to do this here, I estimate it should take about 8 weeks to rebuild the walls with two workers @$200.00 US a week plus material 200 -250 Santa Maria sticks 3 inches thick about $500.00

Cement for the new drainage system probably around $ 300.00 us give or take, I have not finished pricing how much I will need. I estimate the most needed is around 3000.00 – 3500.00 to completely fix and finish this house and Covered out door Dinning room/ kitchen. I would say that’s a big difference from rebuilding a 900 square ft building in the States. I asked one of the brothers down here to put in the loft, for more sleeping area. His price will make the finale cost however I included a good estimate for him in the cost.

I am learning how life teaches us to be collective. The house is one of our first Indigenous house building projects and it will give our people a chance to really feel what it is like to live with the Earth. I am learning a lot of skill details for building a living lifestyle with natural resources.

Now is the time for everyone who wants to get out of the states but can’t get all the money to travel a way to do it. For every $50.00 invested towards the building fund for the Luk Makoo project, the investor receives a night stay at the house I suggest to all people you should plan to stay a week, housing becomes a major expense, now you don’t have to worry about that, its just your passport airfare and about 200.00 in traveling, play money. For the most part food is included. We need to raise 3500.00.

There will be a Luk Makoo building fund donation button at the financial payment center at the school site Come on down and share in the learning experience,


Punta Gorda- Luk Makoo Internet Update!!!!!

Well folks when I left, there was no internet available in the area Luk Makoo is located. I was informed that fiber optics cables were being installed for internet and cable and should be up and running around January 2017. Just before I left in May, all but one internet café had closed, leaving very little options for public internet connections.

Now that I am back, I have a real challenge, finding internet for the classes. I kept asking around and I found out there is a Wifi service by Smart. I connected with their representative to see if there is a possibility I could get wifi service from the service tower in the next town from me. Well guess what I can pull in a strong 3g service. I was so happy, so I got it, I am still looking for the best spot to get the strongest signal, but it is better than nothing . I will use this until I can purchase and have installed a secure internet line . Currently, I can not be connected all the time, but I can connect when I need to if I have space or minutes. I check the mail at least once a day

Well, I had more but I reached my space limit. that’s enough for now


Until next time, Keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine, I will check in soon to fill you in on the adventures with RaDine