Considering the name of my husband, I feel an entry on the general inventiveness of Belizean names is apt. There is no McDonald’s restaurant in Belize (in fact there are no chains at all), and so Ray has not suffered too much as a result of his name, but there is a reason he introduces himself as Ray to all non-Belizeans.
My personal favourite name that I’ve come across in Belize is Al Gore Bo, a name belonging to a 7 year old Mayan boy I discovered while conducting vision screenings in the tiny village of Machaquilha, a 3 hour drive + 40 minute walk away from PG, with no phone service or electricity. If only I spoke Kekchi I would have asked the boy’s parents about that one.
I think the parents of my former workmate Disraeli Socorro Bol, and her 10 brothers and sisters who all have the same initials (Diora, Davina, Delana, Diego, Descartes, Desiderius and 4 more that I can never remember) should get some kind of prize for inventiveness. Some parents choose to combine their names to christen their dearest with, giving wonderful combinations like Rayanna (Raymond + Joanna), Darlisa (Darius + Lisa) and so on.
In addition, certain surnames are associated with certain trades, occupations or prestige. If you have the same surname as somebody (other than through marriage), then it is highly unlikely that you are NOT related in a country where I would guess that there are no more than three degrees of separation between any two people. I feel the need to be friendly to pretty much everyone in PG not only because I’m a friendly person, but also because I figure there is at least a 20% chance they are related to Ray in some way.
When I first came here, and people found out I was from Scotland, they would ask (perhaps thinking that the above logic could be applied equally effectively outside Belize) if I knew Kirsty that worked at Red Cross in Belize City, as she was also from Scotland. Now you might think that I would have to point out that being a country of 5 million people, no I did not know Kirsty at the Red Cross. Funny thing is, I did. She was in the year below me at Balfron High School, and we both ended up in Belize completely independently of each other, and only find out about each other once we were both here.