Being part of a multiracial/multicultural family includes learning and educating our children about the different facets of our cultures. Our children are Polish, Italian, German, African American, and Garinagu (people of the Garifuna culture from Belize).
For this post we are going to explore Belize and learn more about this wonderful culture & country.
Belize is an independent country in Central America south of Mexico and West of the Caribbean Sea. It’s a diverse country, previously known as British Honduras. Belize is a Central American as well as a Caribbean nation.
It is about the size of New Jersey (in comparison to a U.S. state). The country enjoys warm weather all year round with the average temperatures between 75-80º F (24-27º C) during all seasons. Despite it’s lovely tropical climate, Belize deals with hurricanes that have been known to cause havoc on this country (as summarized from Wikipedia).
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Keep Reading for 10 Fun & Interesting Facts about Paradise… err.. I Mean Belize:
- Did you know that Belize is the only country in Central America where the official language is English? Other languages spoken are Creole (Kriol), Spanish, Garifuna, and Mayan. My mother-in-law actually speaks Garifuna, and part of my daughters middle name comes from her language: Ibari meaning granddaughter. Garifuna is the only African language still spoken in the Western Hemisphere. Most people in Belize speak 2 to 3 languages (they are multilingual).
- Belize has the 2nd largest Barrier Reef in the world – the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef System. It is also known as the Great Mayan Reef. The first is the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. It, like the Great Barrier Reef, are in danger of disappearing because of tourism, overfishing, and global warming. We must work together to save these amazing features of our planet Earth.
- The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first Jaguar Reserve, is in Belize. It is about 150 square miles and not only is home to majestic jaguars, it also is home to magnificent waterfalls.
- Within the country’s borders are over 900 Mayan Temples. According to Larry Waight, a Belizean Blogger, and contributer to Huffington Post, the top 5 Temples to visit are: Xunantunich, Caracol (the largest), Cahal Pech, Altun Ha, and Lamanai Belize.
- The Queen of England is also the Queen of Belize. Her official title is: “Elizabeth The Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Belize and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.” The nation has been independent since 1981 but holds onto certain aspects from its being previously a colony of Britain.
- Instead of street lights to direct traffic they have speed bumps! Street lights are not needed as there are not many cars. They actually call them “sleeping policemen”. Isn’t that funny?! Also.. police there don’t even need to carry guns.
- Mayan people were the first people to inhabit the country in 1500 B.C. In the mid 17th century, British lumber harvesters “founded” the capital city . There are still three groups of Mayans inhabiting Belize: the Yucatec, the Mopan, and the Q’eqchi’.
- Belize is the home of the Black Howler Monkey – One of the 10 loudest animals in the world. People can hear them from over 3 miles away (5 km). The Black Howler Monkey is referred to as “baboon” in Belize. They are vegetarian and can live to around 20 years.
- Belize has the lowest population density in Central America. There are a lot of islands off the coast to live on in addition to the mainland… over 400 actually!
- There is a group of mountains that actually look like a giant that has fallen asleep! Belize City is the location of the Sleeping Giant Mountain range. Do you see his eyebrow ridge, nose, mouth, chest, etc?
Now.. for some more fun. Beautiful pictures to escape in and pretend we are enjoying the gorgeous sandy beaches, warm sea air, and eating the fresh and delicious food. Take a look at out how beautiful the country is.
(Photos below courtesy of my amazing in-laws)
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Fun Activities to do with your children:
- Practice learning basic colors in the Garifuna language: Blue = Dinguti, White = Haruti , Red = Funati, Black = Wuriti, Purple = Guchuti, and Yellow = Dumari.
- Try learning to count to 9 in Garifuna: 1 = aban, 2 = Biama, 3 = uruwa, 4 =gaduru, 5 = seingu, 6 = sis, 7 =sedu, 8 =widu, 9 =nefu.
- Can you find the capital city on the map?
- Have a fresh, colorful salad this week in honor of the vibrant fruits and vegetables found in Belize.
Check out these books to help kids learn about Belize culture and language:
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Hope you enjoyed learning about these fun and interesting facts about Belize! Have you ever been to Belize or another country in Central America? Let me know in the comment where you have been, and what was your favorite part!by