Faces of Belize #FriFotos

The theme this week over on Twitter’s Friday Fotos is “Faces” and I could not resist sharing a few shots from my “Faces of Belize” project that I started last summer during my Road Warrior stint for the Belize Tourism Board.  The Board planned on sponsoring my exhibit in Belize City — and prints even ready thanks to my editor at the time (who ironically is co-hosting this week’s #Frifotos) — but unfortunately, we ran out of time on the tail end of my trip.

 A year later, the portraits remain in storage because I decided to wait and have collected more along the way on my independent trips. I plan on continuing to capture and show the amazing diversity in Belize and display them at the right time.

Except for this teaser!  Motivated by FriFotos and in light of Belize’s upcoming September (Independence) Celebrations, this year appropriately themed “Many Faces, Many Dreams, One Goal”, I couldn’t help but share some of these with you.

Behind each smile, gaze and wrinkle is a warm soul who welcomed me to his or her corner of the country and kolcha, sharing time and love selflessly– from different walks of life and different heritage. From the amazing Garifuna musical hero Paul Nabor to Lilly, a Mayan student at Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy who loves her guitar, to Andrew a Mennonite with some Spanish blood, to the First Lady of Belize, a beautiful Creole lady and humanitarian.  For their stories and more portraits, you’ll have to stay tuned for the full exhibit!


Lilly Aldana, student at Caye Caulker Ocean Academy high school and future Mayan musicianMs. Yacinta, shopkeeper in Barranco, a Garifuna village in southern BelizeThe one and only Paul Nabor, Garifuna legend and musical heroAndrew Perez from Barton Creek, a Mennonite village in western BelizeTalented young dancers from the San Pedro Dance Company, Ambergris CayeP6 DSC_3380.jpgDora the Explorer as she likes to be called - Mayan tour guide and lover of archeology Roselle Noralez, cook at Amor y Cafe on Caye Caulker and Garifuna who migrated to the island years agoElton Henriques, stable manager at Maruba Spa & Resort, and horseback riding instructorFirst Lady of Belize, Kim Simplis Barrow, a Kriol beauty

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Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning, Ethiopian-American travel writer, photographer and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize, Moon Belize Cayes, and Moon Dominican Republic (October 2016). Her work focuses on Caribbean culture and adventure, and has been published in AFAR, CNN Travel, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, and Every Day With Rachael Ray, among many others. Lily is also the 2016 recipient of the Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism for her Caribbean coverage, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–she speaks four languages fluently and has lived in Cote d’Ivoire, England, Jamaica, Belize, the Dominican Republic and traveled to some 30+ countries around the world. Last but not least, she is a former corporate attorney who ditched her Washington DC office for the road in 2009 to pursue her dream of becoming a storyteller. Lily holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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  1. Andrea 24 August, 2012 at 2:55 PM #

    Wonderful people, wonderful pics. Just nice !!!

  2. Lebawit Lily Girma 28 August, 2012 at 7:38 PM #

    Thanks very much Andrea! 🙂

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