We offer flexible half-day Garifuna culture activity packages, with the option to include a traditional Garifuna meal of fresh fish fillet sauteed in mildly spiced coconut milk served with mashed plantain (known as “hudut” in Garifuna). Minimum 2 people.
Select any three activities from the list below to make up your half-day package:
1: 1 hour interactive Garifuna drumming lesson
2: 1 hour interactive drum-making lesson/demonstration
3: 30 minute traditional Garifuna drum group performance featuring 4-member band
4: 1 hour traditional Garifuna dancing lesson
Cost per person:
For groups of 2-3 people: $100USD/ $200BZ (without meal)
For groups of 4-8 people: $75USD/ 150Bz (without meal)
Add $7.50USD/ $15BZD to include meal
Half-Day Garifuna Drumming & Cooking Package
Please note this activity is not currently available. We hope to be offering it again later in 2020!
We offer a 1 hour drumming lesson, followed by approximately 2 hour cooking lesson, where you will learn how to cook the traditional Garifuna meal of hudut. You will learn how to make coconut milk from scratch, prepare and pound the green and ripe plantain, and season the coconut milk broth ready to sautee the fresh fillet fish. You will then sit down and enjoy the delicious meal you just made! Minimum 4 people.
Cost per person:
For groups of 4-8 people: $75USD/ 150Bz
If you have an idea for bespoke Garifuna culture activity packages let us know!
So concludes the sign in front of one of the tapirs at Belize Zoo…
Scotty the Tapir
I recommend everyone that comes to Belize visits the Zoo, because it’s great fun, the animals are all in their natural habitat, there is no cement or perspex (so your paws are your own responsibility!), and it’s the only guaranteed way to see a jaguar, toucan, and all the other animals of Belize.
My first physical encounter with animals in Belize was even less pleasant than being peed on by a tapir. Six days after arrival, two pit bull dogs took objection to me walking down the street, broke off their chains and feasted on my ankles. I could hardly walk for two weeks, and the scars will never disappear, but while I am now far more wary of unknown dogs, my friendship with the animal kingdom was soon repaired.
Not too long after the dog incident, a fellow volunteer, Jess, came across some children about to throw a kitten down a slide, while a hungry dog waited at the bottom. Jess yelled at them to stop, scooped up the kitten and brought it home. Orchid, as we named her, was less than a month old, had a stripe of blue spray paint down her back, and looked generally dishevelled.
Orchid shortly after being saved
But after a few weeks she was a healthy, affectionate fur-ball who liked to sleep on top of my mosquito net. Most Belizeans do not like cats, and don’t know what a pet cat is like. One day, a Belizean friend came to the house, and Orchid promptly jumped on his lap and made herself comfortable. She was tolerated at first, that is, until she started to purr. Never having heard a cat purr before, the poor guy freaked out, said the cat was going to explode, and threw Orchid off his knee in a mad panic to everyone else’s laughter.
In Punta Gorda, howler monkeys and toucans live just minutes away from our rented house in town. Once at 4pm, I was leaving work, and I heard howler monkeys nearby. I took a 30 second walk across the cemetery, and found three howler monkeys at the top of a tree looking down suspiciously at the white girl being eaten by mosquitoes.
The land where we are building our new house has a fig tree in the garden where a group of over 20 parrots like to gossip over an all-you-can-eat fig buffet. A toucan perches on a nearby tree every day; iguanas chill out on various tree limbs and lizards dance around the grass. All only a 15 minute walk from the middle of town. As my father-in-law says, “you got your own zoo back deh for free”. I just need to work on some Kriol rhymes for it now.
While English maybe the official language, Kriol, the language of Belize, is the real language. Based on English, but with its own grammar system, and lots of other words thrown in, on first coming here, you will probably understand 50-70% of what people say on the streets.
Some proper English words that I think I almost never used at home are used all the time here. Examples include variations of the verb “to vex”, which is used all the time instead of annoyed, angry, pissed off etc, e.g.: “Wha’ yu di geh vex wid me for?” ‘What are you getting angry with me for?”.
My father-in-law, who’s first languages are actually Garifuna and Spanish, broke the news to me that “di crab done condemn some of di okra” that he planted (although happily not all, and as the surviving okra plants are now 12 foot high, they are out of reach of even the largest of blue crabs). Even now, sometimes Ray will say things that have me simply replying “huh?” in confusion. Some call Kriol simplified English, but to me, there is nothing simple about it, and like with all languages, there are some things that only make sense when they are said in Kriol.
I will leave you with January’s recipe from this year’s Kriol Kalinda for stewed gibnut, a huge rabbit-like rodent, which can indeed be made with rabbit if anyone feels like being chef.
It’s alternative name, Royal Rat, comes from the fact that it was fed to Queen Elizabeth during her last visit. I’m not sure whether she found eating an over-sized rodent vexing or not, but I’m sure she’s been fed many strange things in her time.
Schoo Raiyal Rat
The Royal Rat -Picture and Recipe courtesy of the Kriol Council of Belize (http://www.nationalkriolcouncil.org/) and their fantastic annual Kriol Calendar.
¼ or ½ a wan gibnat (bowt 3 pong)
1/8 kop vineega er di joos a 2 laim
1 teespoon seezn saal
3 plog gyaalik, chap op; er 2 teespoon jrai gyaalik
½ teespoon blak pepa
½ teespoon taim
1 tayblspoon saiz rikaado
1 tayblspoon Lea ‘n’ Perrins saas
1 meedyon oanyan, slais op
2 kop vejitablz
How fu mek it: Wash meet wid vineega er laim. Kot op di meet eena di saiz porshan weh yu waahn. Jrayn di meet gud gud. Miks op aal di seeznin dehn lang wid di saas sotay yu ga wahn wet amonk. Rob dat op gud-wan pahn di meet. Den set di meet wan said fu soak dong wahn lee owa self; oavanait eena frij gud tu (di langa di beta). Heet ail eena yu pan. Ad di meet. Ton dong heet tu meedyom. Brayz fu 30-40 minits; ad 1/3 kop waata evri now ahn den wen di meet jrai owt, sotay ih tenda. Kova di pat meentaim if yu waahn ih moa tenda. Yu ku ad di vejitablz fahn di taim yu staat to brayz if yu waahn dehn saafi saafi, er wayt sotay now fu ad di vejitablz if you waahn dehn moa ferm. Ad lee moa waata ahn kuk dong tu ail. Serv wid blak-aiy peez ahn rais, bayk plaantin ahn pitayta salad.
Rikaado, or “recado” is a Belizean seasoning made from the annatto plant (the same plant used to colour orange cheese). You can use paprika instead.
A few months ago, Ray and I were at his uncle’s house watching (me) and helping (Ray) make a drum. I was perched on the edge of another future drum. Ray’s dad Mario was also there. Everyone was taking a few minutes rest from the hot Belizean sun. A little boy came running into the yard, and then stopped in his tracks when he saw me. He looked at me suspiciously, then hovered in the corner for a minute or two. He then plucked up some courage, and said
“Uncle, I wahn ask you somting”.
Ray responded “Well ask me den”.
“It’s a secret”.
“Well come tell me in my ear den”. The little boy whispered in Ray’s ear.
Ray roared out “Who dat white gyal? She da me wife, she yo auntie, hear?!”.
The little boy looked mortified at having his secret question blurted out, but recovered, and then looked confused while he continued to look sidelong at me: “She cahn be my auntie”.
Ray: “Oh really? Why cahn she be yo auntie?”.
“Cos she white”
At which point, Ray’s dad jumped in and said,
“Boy! Even if she green, she still yo auntie, hear!”