Monday, January 13, 2014

Cultures and the Way of Life in Belize

We have so many different cultures and ways of life here, I don't know where to begin. 

Mennonite's Out Shopping
CULTURE: The Belizean culture is made up of influences and people from Kriol, Maya and Kekchi Indians, Garinagu (also known as Garifuna), Mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americans), Mennonites who are of German descent, with a blend of many other cultures from Chinese to Lebanese and numerous North Americans.

LANGUAGE: The primary language of Belize is, English. We also have Spanish, K'ekchi", Mopan Maya, Creole (Kriol), High and Low German, Garifuna, Chinese and various other languages. They also speak Kitchen Spanish, or what is better known as, Spanglish. It is a mixture of Spanish and English/Kriol. 

HOMES: In our village, Guinea Grass, you will see homes built like a shanty with wood and cement homes that are being built by family, living in the US. These cement homes are only built as the money is sent here. Therefore, you well see rebar sticking out of a second or third story. You may also see homes built out of a material, kind of like bamboo. It's called pimienta, with a thatch or metal roof. Most have outdoor toilets.

In the Mennonite villages, you will see the old order homes built by them out of a cement form that looks like brick, or homes of metal siding. They have no electricity.

The K'ekchi' and Maya villages will have homes like longhouses. These homes will have dirt floors, rough wood walls and thatch roofs. Most of the time, it is only 1 large room, where several families will sleep.

All of these cultures of people build an out door kitchen. They will build a fire, with blocks around it for placing their pots on. This is called a Fire Heart, or in Kriol, "Fiya Haat."

The main towns will have a mixture of these homes, with your well to do people living in nicer homes, most of the time. Their homes would be more than 1 bedroom and include an indoor bathroom.

ENTERTAINMENT: The children in our village love to play marbles, soccer, jacks, jump rope, and a game where they'll take a bouncy ball, throw it against a wall, clap once, catch it, then adding more number of claps until they can't catch it anymore. Not sure what you call it though. :)
The Mennonite children's toys, bikes and games would be built by them.

FOOD: Depending on who's home you are in, the meals will vary. Belizeans eat a wide variety of foods. You will often find homemade flour tortillas, johnny cakes, or fry jacks. These are generally served with beans. Also for breakfast, you will usually see street vendors selling empanades, (fried maize (corn) shells with beans, fish, chicken, or beef) tacos and meat pies, 
For the midday meals, you'll usually find, beans and rice, or rice and beans (cooked together), with or without coconut milk, tamales, escabeche (onion soup), chilmole (black soup made with black recado), stew chicken and various dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw. 
On the weekends, at night, you'll usually find a street vendor selling garnaches, (fried corn tortillas with beans, cheese, and cabbage sauce) burritos, or tostadas.
In the rural areas, meals are generally less extravagant; the Maya use recado, chicken soup and corn or maize for most of their meals.)
I have heard that the Garifuna are fond of fish and other seafood, cassava (particularly made into hudut) and vegetables. I wouldn't know, I have yet to try it. 
At 11:30AM, up until 12PM, you will find that the children leave school to go home and eat lunch, then back to school for 1PM. Some businesses close at midday for lunch, reopening later in the afternoon.

INFRASTRUCTURE: There is one main, two lane, paved road through the country. All others are dirt, filled with sand, gravel and maul. Not very nice at all. :( We have sleeping policemen (road bumps) for stop signs.

We live in a village 8 miles from a main town. Those 8 miles feel long though. Our roads are not paved and our vehicles tear up pretty easily.

TRANSPORTATION: Buses are a common means of transport. Each bus would have their fee to transport the person to their destination. Bikes are the most common. Cyclers have the right of way. We also have taxi's and private transportation as well. 
The Mennonite's will hire a truck to bring their handmade wares to the main cities to sell. Their common mode of transportation is horse and buggy.

I believe that is all I can give you about the cultures and way of life here in Belize.

Our daily lives seem normal to us and to me there is nothing "exciting" to share, but if you have questions about it, I would gladly answer them.

Right now, I can't think of anything else, but seriously, if you have ANY questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer them to the best of my ability. God bless you all and thanks so much for the prayers throughout the years.

Check out our church website:

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”  ― Maya Angelou

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"


  1. Haley,

    I loved this post! It was so interesting! I especially liked when you talked about what the children do for entertainment: playing outside together! That's what it should be! Sadly, many kids in the states no longer enjoy these simple child hold experiences like they should because of technology taking over everything.

    Again, loved this post, and praying for your family and Belize!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Thank you for stopping by! I am so glad someone is reading my blog and enjoys the posts. Please keep coming by.