Tag Archives: Belize Tourism Board

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

Photo Essay: Orange Walk’s Annual Fiestarama

It’s summertime – in Belize it also means, fiesta time! Belize’s towns and districts have their annual fairs from now until the big St. George’s Caye Day and Independence Day celebrations in September. One Belizean told me that it’s a way to keep everyone pumped up all the way up to September 21. I kind of like that idea!

Belizean fairs are super lively and almost everyone in town attends. It’s the big annual to-do. New outfits, new shoes, everyone gets done up and hangs out with their families and friends at the fiesta. It’s one big open-air celebration that usually lasts two to three days over a weekend. From local food stalls, to local liquors, to mechanical rides, card games and even live concerts that go on late into the night on Saturday, the fair has something for everyone.

One thing I found out the hard way – it’s Caribbean time over here, meaning no one really shows up until about 8 or 9 p.m. I showed up at 5 p.m. on Saturday and well, it was pretty much me and a few others watching the bands rehearse! On the other hand, Sunday is more of a “family” day, so people turn up earlier.

The Orange Walk annual fair, called Fiestarama, was last weekend and my first look into a Belizean fiesta. I can’t wait to see more – oh and next time, I’m staying way past my “recommended” 8 p.m. curfew so I don’t miss out on any hot Punta rock band that everyone told me was a hit Fiestarama!

Marching bands walk through town on Saturday afternoon to promote the annual town fiesta that weekend.Marching bands are big in Belize and there is even an annual national competition.Flag for the drumming band.Another marching band follows.The lively costumes and the sounds of drums get the town geared up for the evening fun ahead.The drumming was spectacular. Everyone comes out to watch the bands pass.At the Fiestarama, authentic Belizean home-cooked food is at its best. You can pull up a chair and sit to eat, just like at a friend's home.My 50 cent chicken salbutes (that's US $0. 25 cents), with some guacamole on top.I ordered watermelon juice. The way it was served took me back to my childhood days in West Africa.Mrs. Marcelina's stand was the most popular and the most delicious.The women, who are all family, are working hard behind the tables, cooking more as demand grows.There are all kinds of fun gambling and card games, and they can get quite addictive.There are souvenirs to buy, locally carved items.Orange Walk's Cuellos Distillery gets its cocktail lounge ready.Of course I had to try a Belizean rum-infused cocktail. It's part of experiencing the local culture. :-)The rides come to life as night falls and the crowds grow thicker.This lady's bacon-wrapped sausages were a hit. Only two left. And yes, I tried one.Her beef tacos were just as delicious.The fair is very much one big family affair. The children love the rides.Shopping is for everyone.The ferris wheel is the most popular one among adults.The local Rotary Club was there both days, making drinks and raising funds for Orange Walk high schools.Another popular ride with adults. All of the mechanical rides come from neighboring Mexico.Everyone from adults to teenagers tries for soft toys.The later it gets, the more crowded the fair. No one really shows up before 8pm.The gambling fun continues into the night.The annual town fair is a big to-do. The ladies buy new outfits and many wear heels. The men dress nice too. Saturday night is a "club-ish" look, Sunday is more casual. A Belizean rock band spices up the last night of the fair, Sunday.The town fairs are usually held at the stadium.