Toledo Howler


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Toledo Howler
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Marta Hirons; Rob Hirons
Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association
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Punta Gorda,Toledo District, Belize
Creation Date:
September 2011
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newspaper   ( sobekcm )

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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AUTUMN/WINTER YEAR 7, ISSUE 1 INSIDE THIS ISSUE New Boat Service 1 Reef CI Celebrates Ten Years 1 BTIA Toledo Members List 2 Maroon Creole Drum School 3 Calendar of Events 4 TIDE Fish Fest 4 Reef Conservation International 5 PG Town Map 6 Birding with Lee Jones Christmas Bird Count 7 7 Barranco the Dugu Capital 9 Battle of the Drums preview 9 Transport Schedules 10 11 Chocolate Festival Cooking Competition 13 ProWorld Belize 15 Word on the Street 16 Arzu Mountain Spirit Medicinal Plants 17 Southern Voices: Dr Joseph Palacio 18 Map of Toledo District 20 Newspaper of the Toledo Chapter of th e Belize Tourism Industry Association Coastal Water Taxi Planned As Toledo Tourism continues to grow so does the number of registered tour guides in the District and the Toledo Tour Guide Association now has over 50 members. The Association undertakes training and registration of tour guides and conducts workshops to allow for continuous professional development and further specialist training. The Asso ciation also s eeks and develops new op portunities for their guides and for the expansion of the Toledo Tourism prod uct. One project currently in the pipeline is the introduction of a weekly boat service to Punta Negra and Monkey River village and a second weekly service to Barranco three villages which are currently more difficult to access. Punta Negra is a small coastal commu nity with beautiful beaches and cool Car ibbean breezes, nestled between two protected areas the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve to the front and Payne's Creek National Park to the rear. Its a perfect destination to enjoy a day on the beach, combined with a little hand fishing and preparing one of the freshest lunches you could hope to taste. Monkey River village is the northern most village in Toledo, a small Creole village situated on the southern bank of the mouth of the Monkey River. Many of the villagers are fishermen but they are also wellkno wn for their tour guides who take visitors on boat tours on the Monkey River. Trips wind through man grove channels and broadleaf forests where visitors can see the troops of Howler Monkeys that live in the area, as well as iguanas, crocodiles and many different bird species in the riverine for ests. Conversely, Barranco is the southern most village in Toledo and famed for its Garifuna culture. A new weekly boat service would allow for visitors to take cultural tours, learning more about the Garifuna way of life including preparing cassava bread and hudut fish cooked with coconut and served with mashed plantains. The Tour Guide Association hopes to launch this new service early in 2014 and you can be sure we will be shouting about their progress with this great new initiative. Reef CI Celebrating 10 Years of Operation with Recognition As we go to press, we have just learned that Reef CI has been shortlisted for the World Responsible Tourism Awards for the Best Responsible Wildlife Experiences category. The Awards were founded in 2004 to recognise the best of the best in responsible tourism tourism that creates better places to live in and visit and they are designed to recognise those ventures around the world that make positive contributions to nature and heritage conservation and to the economies of local communities. The awards are unique in that organisations are initially nominated by their guests and then a rigorous judging process is undertaken by a panel formed by some of the leading experts on responsible tourism and from the tourism industry. The judges decision will be announced on 6th November at the World Travel Market in London, one of the worlds largest travel shows, on World Responsible Tourism Day. We wish ReefCI every success in the awards and having reached this stage f the competition they are already winners of welldeserved international recognition for their work. Where to get your copy of The Toledo Howler Distribution points include: Tourism Information Centres throughout Belize Tropic Air and Maya Island Air terminals BTIA Toledo members Requenas Charters, Puerto Barrios Major gas stations As well as a wide online presence in electronic format Please contact the Toledo Howler team at 722 2531 if you would like to become a distributor for the voice of tourism development in Belizes deep south!


2 BTIA TOLEDO MEMBERS 2013 Business Contact Person Phone Email Asha's Culture Kitchen Ashton & Stacy Martin 632 8025 Belcampo Shirleymae Parham 722 0050 Beya Suites Lisa Avila 722 2188 Big Falls Extreme Adventures Andrew Caliz 634 6979/620 3881 andrewcaliz@bigfallsex Catarina Choco Catarina Choco 634 6772 Coleman's Caf Thomas & Pearleen Coleman 630 4069 /6304432 Coral Ho use Inn Ale Cho 722 2878 Cuxlin Ha Resort Dona Scafe 732 4747 Dreamlight Computer Center Timothy Dami 702 0113 Garbutt's Fishing Lodge Dennis Garbutt 722 0070 /6043548 Golden Stream Plantation Thomas & Tessy Mathew 720 2014 Hickatee Cottages Ian & Kate Morton 662 4475 Ixcacao May a Belizean Chocolates Juan Cho 742 4050/660 2840 Ixchel Women's Group Tecla Acal 626 2338/632 7938 Indian Creek Village Living Maya Experience Anita Cal & Marta Chiac 627 7408/632 4585 Maroon Creole Drum School Emmeth & Jill Young 668 7733/632 7841 Maya Bags Belize Crafts Ltd. Desiree Arnold 722 2175 Mountain Spirit Wellness Community Dr. Ana Arzu 600 3873 ProWorld Belize Nicole Andrewin 610 1063 Reef Conservation International Polly Alford 629 4266 Requena's Charter Service Julio Requena 722 2070 The Farm Inn Renee Brown 732 4781 The Lo dge at Big Falls Rob Hirons 732 4444 /6716677 Tide Tours Delonie Forman 722 2129 Toledo Tour Guide Association BTIA Office 637 2000 Tranquility Lodge Lee & Susan Oltmann 677 9921 Warasa Garifuna Drumming School Ruth & Ronald McDonald 632 7701 Yum Kax Women's Group Concepciona Coc 662 8539/63 6 9586


3 Maroon Creole Drum School We welcome the Maroon Creole Drum School as a new member of the Toledo BTIA. Based in Punta Gorda, the school is owned and run by Emmeth Young. Emmeth comes from Gales Point Manatee, a narrow peninsula in the Southern Lagoon be tween Dangriga and Belize City. Emmeth says this is the only commu nity of Maroon Creole in Belize, a group who trace their origins back to the Ebo tribe in Nigeria. The Maroon Creole started as an isolated group of runaway slaves, marooned in various parts of the Caribbean. The Maroon Creole share some drumming rhythms with other Caribbean and African cultures but also have unique sounds and drums designs. The different types of drums have names like jun jun, kinkinni, sangba, sambai and djembe. The sambai drum is unique to the Gales Point commu nity. On the other hand, the djembe is one of the most popular styles of hand drum played around the world because of its versatility and powerful sound. Emmeth makes and sells all types of tradi tional drums, both to interested beginners and professional musicians. He uses a variety of tropi cal hardwoods for the bases. Goat skin is pre ferred for the head of the djembe; the sambai drum from Gales Point tra ditionally has a deerskin head. Emmeth started his drum school in Gales Point in 1997 and moved it to Punta Gorda two and a half years ago. He has been drumming since the age of eight, following a family tradition since both grandfathers also played. Emm eth has made drums and taught for over twenty five years Those of you who have been to P.G. may know the Driftwood Caf on Front Street, owned by Emmeth and his wife Jill. There are drums for sale along with other colorful crafts and paintings. Jill also offers tasty hot and cold coffee drinks and ho me made meals. The drum school itself is located along Joe Taylor Creek, a half mile inland from the sea in a jungle setting. Here, Emmeth gives lessons and instruc tions in drum making while Jill rustles up tasty Cre ole meals for the students. Jill also offers tradi tional Creole cooking lessons for interested visi tors. The visit also includes a presentation about Creole culture, its mythology and medicinal plants. Emmeth is whats known as a griot or oral historian, a skill passed on from his father. Students will learn about the unique Sambai rhy thm, which tradi tionally accompanies a fertil ity dance around the time of the full moon. Apparently, a couple who partici pated in the Sambai dance at Emmeths school, returned home to the United States to find that they had conceived a child after years of trying! Emmeth has always loved teachi ng children and nearly five years ago, started a mentoring program called Drums Not Guns. He wanted to teach young people about drumming to give them an alternative to joining gangs. He says the drumming gives youths a sense of purpose and teaches discipline and focus. They can be proud of their accomplish ments without having to prove themselves with a gun on the streets of Belize City. Emmeth and Jill were awarded a small grant in 2012 by the Sustainable Tourism Program of the BTB which has allowed them to develop and im prove the drumming school facilities. They now have a solar panel, co mposting latrine, traditional fire hearth kitchen, dining room, palapa and stage. The grounds also include outdoor art installations, illustrating the history and beliefs of Belize from mythical creatures like Ixtabai to Mayan artifacts and Creole cultural scenes. Jill is the resident art ist. Emmeth and his school are endorsed by the National Kriol Council of Belize as an authentic Kriol (or Creole) experience. The Maroon Creole Drum School is a magical place to spend a few hours immersed in this fascinating culture. For more information and to book a visit to the drum school: Phone: 668 7733 or 632 7841 Email: or Website: Facebook page: Maroon Creole Drum School Or just drop by the Driftwood Caf if youre already in PG and talk to Jill. Opening hours are: 8ampm, Sunday through Friday. Preparing tasty Creole food on the fire hearth


4 Calendar of Events Date Event Venue/Time Other Info 11 October TIDE Fish FestivalSeafood Gala Father Ring Parish Hall (sea front entrance) Tide Tours or call 722 2129 12 October TIDE Fish FestivalYouth Conservation Competition Father Ring Parish Hall Tide Tours or call 722 2129 13 October TIDE Fish FestivalFinale TIDE Headquarters, Cattle Landing Village Tide Tours or call 72 2 2129 14 October Bank Holiday Pan American Day 25 October Organic Fair Symposium Punta Gorda Town Council Conference Room 09:00 Free 26 October Organic Fair Central Park, Punta Gorda Town 09:00 Free 16 November Battle of the Drums Sports Complex, Punta Gorda Town, 19:30 Beya Suites 722 2188 17 November Paranda Top 10: live radio broadcast on Love FM focusing on the distinctive Paranda sound. Music performed by local PG Paranderos. Beya Suites Beya Suites 722 2188 18 November Live Garifuna Drumming Central Park 22:00 04:00 19 November YurumeinGarifuna Settlement Re enactment followed by parade through PG (Bank Holiday) PG Cooperative Wharf 06:30 25 December Bank Holiday Christmas Day 26 December Bank Holiday Boxing Day 1 January Bank Holiday New Year's 15 November Battle of the Drums Food and Fete Social Security Building 20:00 01:00 4 January Christmas Bird Count Various areas in Toledo. Pre count meeting on 3rd Ja nuary, held 7pm at Natures Way Guesthouse 23 25 May Chocolate Festival of Belize Punta Gorda and Toledo District TIDE Fish Festival 11th to 13th October 2013 Belize is developing a reputation for its range of vibrant festivals and celebrations, and the TIDE Fish Festival was one of the first festivals to be established in Belize. While other districts may have their lobsterfest and fishing competitions, TIDEs fish fest is a celebration of all things marine, and is the only festival to be staged by a conservation NGO. Toledo is famed for its world class marine resources not only a rich source of food for the local fishermen, but more recently a source of alternative livelihoods, as more fishermen train as fly fishing guides for the visitors who come here to try th eir hand at the fabled grand slam catch of tarpon, permit, and snook. TIDE the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment is very conscious of the need to balance protection of the environment with sustainable practices, and this years Festival theme is Sustainable Fishing, Secure Livelihoods which flows throughout the weekend events. Events kick off on Friday 11th October with the Seafood Gala, offering a selection of seafood canaps and finger food, specially themed cocktails, and live music from some of Toledos finest talent. TIDE believes investment in education is key to fostering a sense of appreciation and understanding of our natural resources, and their Youth Conservation Competitionon Saturday 12th October sees talented students competing for a number of tertiary level scholarships. The Sunday finale is held in the TIDE grounds where the winners of the early morning fishing competition will be announced, and a whole range of funfilled activities will be on offer, from traditional coconut husking and cast net throwing, to volleyball and kayak competitions and cultural entertainment. For more details, please visit the website, the TIDE Fish Festival facebook page, or email Tickets for the Seafood Gala are BZ$40 in advance from TIDE, or BZ$50 at the door subject to space available.


5 Reef Conservation International Reef Conservation International was founded by Polly Wood ten years ago when she left her cor porate life in Britain to pursue her passion for diving and marine conservation. A diving trip to Roatan in 1999 first sparked Pollys interest in marine conservation but she quickly found that there were few short term opportuniti es. Most conservation projects and placements were for gap year students or other longer term commitments. Realising that there were others who felt as she did and who could help contribute meaningful data to scientists, she started to explore the idea of a marine conservation organisation which could offer opportunities to a muc h wider group of people. Polly told us, I wanted to cre ate something unique, where anyone of any age could come and help contribute towards data collection, whether it was for one week or three months and for any level of diving experience, from beginners to experts. She a ttended nu merous seminars on citizen science and marine conservation, explored various locations, talked to scientists and developed her business plan. One of the major factors was financial sustain ability and, having looked at operations that relied on funding, she wanted to use what was at that time a fairly new co ncept, the voluntour ism approach. Many scientists rely on a limited pool of funding and grants and their ability to collect data is often limited to short visits. With ReefCI being funded on a non profit basis by the volunteers themselves they are able to operate year round and conduct regular monitoring to contribute meaningful data to the scientific community with out taking funds away from existing studies. ReefCI has a number of pro grams, including the Queen Conch study, lobster surveys and turtle nesting monitoring. They have also developed their own ReefCI Check, a coral reef monitoring protocol focus sing on the unique marine ecosys tem of Southern Belize. This includes the monitoring of indi cator species and the mapping of the condition of the reef. But, perhaps one of the biggest draws is Pollys growing reputation as something of a whale shark whisperer. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean (up to 46 feet long and weigh ing up to 15 tons for those of you inter ested in statistics) and the Belize Barrier Reef attracts one of the largest concentrations of whale sharks in the world. The Sapodilla Cayes lie along one of their migration routes, meaning that they are often seen fo r up to nine months of the year. Polly is modest about her ability and says they are easy to spot if you know the signs. These include boobies and terns feeding on the small fry in the water which are aided by the usually calm conditions at the Sapodillas. She also says that her secret weapon is Roland, her husband who grew up fishing the south ern Belize waters and has eyes like a hawk. ReefCI provides all whale shark data to the Belize Fisheries Department. Guests also feed data into the Project AWARE Whale Shark Project, reporting wh ale shark sightings and providing pictures for a public photo identi fication database whale sharks each have a unique pattern on their left hand side about the pectoral fin akin to a human fingerprint. The Sapodilla range consists of eight cayes form ing a hook shape at the southern most end of the Belize. Hunting Caye reputed to have the most beautiful beach in Belize is a base for the Fisheries Department and Coastguard and also has an immigration post. Other cayes include Nicholas Caye, the Garbutt familys Lime Caye, Franks Caye and Tom Owens Caye where ReefCI is based. The cayes are right on the con ti nental shelf so offer amazing wall dives with sheer drops and other dives with a gradual slope. These provide an amazingly varied envi ronment with sponges and corals, pelagic fish, rays, turtles and sharks. ReefCI has between 15 and 20 dive sites tha t they regularly visit. As well as finding new sites divers will revel in the fact that there are no other dive boats in the area. Tom Owens Caye is many peoples idea of a perfect castaway island and is great for novice divers offering diving from the shore, wa rm wa ter with few if any currents and good visibility. Polly is a certified dive instructor, having trained over 300 divers and more than 5000 dives under her belt. The island is an acre of sand and palm trees with eleven guest rooms in cabanas and a main building which also serves as the restau rant, training centre and meeting place. ReefCI offers diving conservation trips staying on Tom Owens Caye from Monday to Friday, including all diving (typically two to four dives a day), diving equipment, training in survey tech niques and methodology, accommodation and meals. For more informati on, visit and ReefCIs Lionfish programme Lionfish are indigenous in the Indio pacific oceans and the Red sea. In their natural habitat they are not considered a threat, but in the Atlantic Caribbean belt they have no natural predators and can consume huge quantities of fish and crustaceans that are key to our marine environment. One lionfish was observed eating more than twen ty fish in half an hour. Lionfish were first seen in southern Belize in 2009 and are potentially the most destructive threat to the Sapodillas. They are now seen on almost every dive at every depth. Lionfish reach sexual maturity at just one year old and females release up to 20,000 eggs every four days and they can live up to fifteen years. On top of that, they have developed strong survival techniques, able to go without food for three months and yet only lose 10% of body mass. ReefCI has observed their ability to camouflage themselves accord ing to their environment. It is easy to see why some describe them as the cockroach of the ocean. Polly is the Belize record holder for spearing the largest lionfish, a whopping 44 cm only 3 cm short of the largest recorded lionfish speared in Florida. ReefCIs lionfish programme removes many lionfish each week 263 in the first week of Septe mber analysing and dissecting a proportion of them to provide data to the Belize Fisheries Department. They collaborate with EcoMar ( and also offer training to dive shops and fishermen on how to safely spear, dissect and prepare the fish (they have toxins in their spines). Lionfish make for very tasty eating (see ReefCIs lionfish ceviche recipe in the autumn 2012 edition of the Howler) and many local restaurants are now requesting lionfish for their menus a tasty way to help save the Reef. ReefCI is also working with local artisans on a project to incorporate the use lionfish tails and fins spines in jewellery.


6 Sketch map of PG Town Garbutts Marine & Fishing Lodge +(501) 722-0070 or 604-3548 ga


7 Victor Bonilla, Emmanuel Chan, Wilfred Mutrie and I were perched atop an old fire lookout tower deep within the rainforest at BFREE (Belize Foun dation for Research and Environmental Educa tion). It was 4:30 a.m. What had brought us to this remote perch a hundred feet above the forest floor at such an ungodly hour was our quest for a record. And money. The record: to tally the largest number of birds recorded by one team of birders in one calendar day. This quest is known as a Big Day. The money: pledged donations to the Belize Raptor Research Institute, or BRRI. A Big Day that is also a fundrais ing eve nt is called a Birdathon. Heres how it works. People pledge money, say $1, in this case, to BRRI for each bird we are able to correctly identify by sight or sound during a 24 hour period. Our goal is 205 species, one more than the reco rd set back in 1999 by the late Sam Tillett, Marcus England and myself. It is a fun way to raise money for a worthy cause. By starting well before dawn, we were hoping to hear, or with a little luck, see the rare Great Potoo, a bird we had heard in this very spot the evening before. Alas, the bird did not cooperate, but we did hear Ver miculated Screech Owl, Mottled Owl and a few other night birds before first light. We had planned our day carefully. We allowed our selves four hours at BFREE, two hours for the 6 mile drive out through the pine savanna, one and a half hours at Aqua Mar Sh rimp Farm, an hour at Nim Li Punit and two hours in and around Punta Gorda. Factoring in driving time and short stops along the way, that should put us at the Dump, a low marshy ar ea and former rice field, by 5 p.m. That would give us plenty of time at the end of the day to pick up the rails and other marsh birds that we would not get anywhere else. The day we had selected for our Big Day was 24th March 2013. When we left BREE at 8:45, we had already logged an impressive 112 species. We were more than half way to our goal with nearly ten hours of daylight left. But were al ready fifteen minutes behind sched ule, thanks to a leisurely but delicious breakfast at the BFREE caf. We arrived at Aqua Mar Sh rimp Farm at 10:40, cautiously optimistic for a record setting day. But we had not done as well as expected along the road from BFREE back to the South ern Highway. By the time we reached the pines the temperature was al ready well into the 80s and bird activ ity had dropp ed precipitously. Never theless, we had 142 species when we reached the first pond at Aqua Mar. Because we would not have time to visit all seventy ponds, only a few of which would have the congregations of shorebirds, waders and waterfowl that we were looking for, we had scouted Aqua Mar the day be fore. We had tallied thir ty eight species, most of which were birds we were not likely to pick up anywhere else. If we were able to pick up just twenty five new birds in the time we had allotted, we would be pushing 170 species, well on our way to a new record. The first drying pond with suitable mudflats where we expected to see a mixed congregation of shorebirds was utterly devoid of birds. So was the secondand the third. But we still hadnt reached the one pond that was loaded with birds the day be fore. Nevertheless, we were con cerned. Where were all the Black bellied Plovers? We had seen 250 yesterday. And the 500 coots we had counted yesterday? And the 110 Blue winged Teal. So far we had recorded only a fraction of the coots and tea l and no Black bellied Plovers. We were anxiously await ing the plethora of birds that would be feeding in the mud and shallow water in the large, drying pond that had been so fruitful less than 24 hours earlier. That would get us back on track. As we topped the levee that gave us our first views of this pond, four sets of trained eyes peered eagerly across the large pond through four pairs of high powered binoculars. No shorebirds. Only a couple of tern and a few Laughing Gulls. We had exhausted our search. There were no more ponds. We left Aqua Mar with only 18 new species, seven short of even our most modest goal. We had only 160 species and it was already half past noon. How would we possibly get 45 more species by days end? The temperature was now well into the 90s, record breaking hea t for this time of yearand it was go ing to get even hotter by the time we reached Nim Li Punit. Our new goal was simply to break the 200 barrier. We recorded a few new species at Nim Li Punit and elsewhere along the way. We did OK in P.G. but missed a few obvious ones. By the time we reached th e Dump at 5:20, only 20 minutes behind schedule, we were still missing a few ubiquitous species like Groove billed Ani, Great Blue Heron, Gray Hawk, Yellow billed Cacique andincredibly Blue black Grassquit, one of the most common birds in Belize. How was that possible? On the drive to the Dump from Ca ttle Landing I had come up with a quick count of 189 species while at the same time scanning the landscape for anis, Gray Hawk and a few other roadside species we still needed. At the Dump we got our a nis, a Gray Hawk, a Great Blue Heron, Yellow billed Cacique and Blue black Grassquit (whew!). At sunset, a Sharp shinned Hawk flew over, easily our best bird of the day. It was a fitting end to a long hot day. But had we gotten the sixteen species needed to break the record? It was going to be close. I counted the list while the others held their collective breath, 150, 180, 200 and I still hadnt reached the last page I must have counted one page twice. a new record. 215.219. Impossible! I counte d again. 219 again. We had smashed the old record. A few days later, Victor discovered that we had failed to include the Philadelphia Vireo that he and Wilfred had seen close to dusk. We had already alerted our donors of the 219 total, so it was too late to add it to our fundra ising total, but not too late to add it to our official Big Day total, which now stood at an even 220. We could never have achieved this remarkable total without the incredible eyes and ears of Wilfred, Chan and Victor. Job well done guys! On to next year. 230? 235? Weve already started planning. Toledo Big Day Birding: Lee Jones Boat-billed Heron Mottled Owls Punta Gorda Christmas Bird Count 4th January 2014 Everyone is welcome regardless of experience.The objective of the CBC is to count (by sight or sound) as many birds as possible in one calendar day within an area encompassed by a circle 15 miles in diameter. The results of this and more than 2,000 other CBCs are published annually by the National Audubon Society. The P.G. count circle includes all of Punta Gorda and extends north to Big Falls, east to the Rio Grande, west to Santa Anna and south to the Moho River. Each year anywhere from six to ten groups, depending on the turnout, are assigned specific areas to cover within this circle. Every team is led by at least one ex pert, so this is a great opportunity for those of you who are a little rusty, or perhaps just getting started in the world of birding, to learn from the experts. We meet every year at 7:00 p.m. the evening before the count at Natures Way Gu est House to get acquainted, assign teams and figure out the transportation and other logistics. At the end of the count day around dusk we again congregate at Natures Way to tally our results. I look forward to seeing you on the count. Spouses, siblings, children and friends are also welcome, as long as they have an interest in birds and dont mind getting their feet wet. If you have any questions, you can e mail me at Groove-billed Ani


8 BTIA Toledo and the Toledo Howler What is BTIA? Vision As the leading national private sector tourism association, BTIA represents a unified voice which advocates for issues that benefit its members, influences tourism policy, legisla tion and marketing for the sustainable devel opment of the industry and improved quality of the visitor experience. Mission To develop a robust and professiona l mem bership association which promotes, advo cates and represents the interests of its mem bers for the benefit and sustainable develop ment of the tourism Industry. Together were stronger! Become a part of BTIA and make a practical contribution to the economic development of Toledo District and benefit from our promotional wor k. We meet monthly at the Tourism information Centre on Front Street. How Do I Join BTIA? Visit to read about BTIA and all the membership benefits and to download an application form. Complete the form and hand it in at the Tourism Information Center on Front St. What does BTIA do in Tol edo? BTIA manages the Tourism Information Cen tre on Front Street and ensures that all our visitors have up to date and accurate infor mation about accommodation, restaurants, transport and activities within Toledo. BTIA produces The Toledo Howler for a na tional and international audience showcas ing our cultures and opportunities for nature and adventure travel in Toledo. It tells stories to attract visitors from within Beliz e and abroad and is distributed nationally in hard copy and overseas in electronic copy. If you would like to regularly receive an electronic copy then send an e mail to Dilma Cano at the e mail address below. BTIA organizes the annual Chocolate Festival of Belize in partnership with the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and other stakeholders. BTIA Toledo officers Chair: Dennis Garbutt Treasurer: Dona Scafe Councilor : Placida Requena Marketing Officer: Dilma Yolanda Cano The Howler is written, edited and produced by: Dilma Cano:, 722 2531 Rob Hirons: Marta Hiron s: Kate Morton:


9 There probably has not been as much public attention in Belize on the dg ceremony as within the past two weeks, thanks to the statement said by a high level manager within the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) about the dg dance. What was said at a joint press conference between the Go vernment of Belize and NCL about the Memorandum of Understanding on the proposed investment at Harvest Caye opened the floodgates for opinions on the dg ceremony and its potential insertion into large scale cruise tourism. This certainly was not the scenario in southern Belize when the Cayetano twins Sebastian and Fabian and their sib lings decided to build a dabuyaba, which they called the Marcelo Cayetano Complex a short distance from the cliff in the village of Barranco in 1996. Most of the materials came from the surrounding bush. The main circumstances leading to the construction were not unusual compared to the preparations for other d gs in Garifuna communities. The family members had been having recurring bad experiences, such as illnesses and car accidents. The spirits of the ancestors appeared in dreams stating that they wanted a celebration. Some spelled out the details of what they expected at the feast. Buyeis were consulted and through their divination confirmed that indeed a dg lasting a few days was needed by given ancestors. But where would this take place for there was no dabuyaba in the village at that time. The spirits directed that a new one should be built. Hence the beginning of the Marcelo Cayetano Complex (MCC)! As the largest, best built and best appointed dabuyaba in Belize, the MCC attracted much attention from within Belize and neigbouring Guatemala. After 1996, dgs have been held there almost every year usually between June and late August, a period which has now been dubbed as the ye arly village dg season. Interestingly, the ceremonies are getting bigger from the sheer numbers of participants. Nobody keeps an exact count but in what was certainly one of the largest, taking place this year, villagers estimated that between 300 to 400 persons came, certainly quadrupling our normal population of 100. At le ast for its small population Barranco can boast of itself as the Dg Capital of Belize. Why is this so? Because dugus are a function of history, the reason has to be found in the life pattern of our ancestors, who had lived in Barranco three and more generations ag o. Many of those honoured had lived in Barranco, even if their descendants had migrated afterwards. Our research has shown that between the 1860s and the early 1900s several men and women had moved to the village. The in migration was again repeated during the 1930s pulled by the banana boom. Unlike other Garifu na communities, Barranco was not first settled on a Carib Reserve or immediately adjoining large private landholdings, such as estates near New Town, the precursor of Hopkins. Barranco was first settled, according to accounts by the British themselves, on lands not owned or used by them. Land availability, therefore, be came a beacon attracting many to the village from Guatemala and Honduras as well as further north in Belize. Land is a major resource needed for a successful dg to produce cassava bread, pigs, chickens, leaves, dyes and other accessories that are needed. Although most of these prerequisites have to be br ought into the village at this time, it was the reality of a previous era of abundance that continues to remain in the memory of the ancestors being honoured. Another main attraction of the village to the living as well as the spirits of our ancestors is the small face to face nature of the village setting. Having driven into the village, one can leave ones vehicle and walk around, going house to house chatt ing with the residents as they sit by their verandahs. In other words, the overall ecosystem that lends itself for the dg extends from the available land together with its bounty to the small rural village setting. A dg in the village absorbs the attention of everyone, resident and visitor alike. This brings us back to the debacle of the NCL allusion to the dg dance they would like to feature at their property at Harvest Caye. Th e historicity embedded into the MCC and the intimacy of the small rural community cannot be repeated within the artificiality that NCL will re construct at Harvest Caye. On the other hand, the NCL incident has opened the larger debate on the role of culture within large scale tourism, which is taking place all over the world, especially where indigenous peoples are found. In the case of the Garifuna we have a self conscious culture that is diverse, vibrant and photogenic, which we have been sharing with others, including visitors to our shores. But as a nation we have the capa city to define what we will share with what visitors. The press release from the office of the National Garifuna Council President said it quite clearly, The dg is a sacred ceremony and is not performed as entertainment for any audience. Indeed, it was the combined work of many of us that le d to the UNESCO 2001 Proclamation of Garifuna language, dance and music as masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. In accepting the Proclamation the government of Belize re affirmed its commitment to maintain the dignity and integrity of Garifuna culture. Fortunately, the Garifuna have not waited for the governmen t but have gone ahead to articulate their position. To a large extent the basis for this has been the dedication of our people in communities, such as Barranco, that has given all of us the collective strength to uphold the dg as the most sacred component of our spirituality. The MCC and other dabuyaba are performin g a function extending far beyond our communities; and reaching out to all indigenous peoples and similarly marginalized peoples wherever they are. Contributed by Dr. Joseph Palacio Barranco the Dg Capital This drumming competition and show allows groups to compete and display their musical art istry in playing five different categories of Garifuna drumming. The first Battle of the Drums was held in Punta Gorda Town on November 17, 2006 and was well received by spectators from home and abroad. In 2007, there was an eve n larger audi ence and greater enthusiasm. In 2008 the event evolved into an international drumming competi tion and show involving drumming groups from various parts of Belize as well as from neighbour ing Guatemala and Honduras. This competition and show has become a major local and interna tional tourist attraction and a catalyst for signifi cant economic activity in the Punta Go rda Area during the period when it is hosted. Food and Fete is the opening night of the Battle of the Drums weekend festivities, held on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. This event brings people together from all walks of life to socialize, network and enjoy an evening of good food and great Garifuna music. It will show case Garifu na Cuisine fused with contemporary cooking styles, dishes and menus prepared by ex ecutive chefs from Belcampo Lodge of Punta Gorda. It will also feature local and national Garifuna mu sical performers performing great paranda and other Garifuna music. Performers will include Paul Nabor, Mario and the Umalali Group, Godfrey Sho and the Culture Dynamics and Lascell e Martinez and the PG Vibes. The Battle of the Drums! 15th and 16th November


10 TOLEDO VILLAGE BUSES Service Depart PG Destination Calling at... Days Return to PG Kan 11:30 Aguacate Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek Mon to Sat 05:20 J n L12:00 Barranco San Felipe (for Ixcacao), Santa Ana, Midway Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 06:00 Garcia11:00 Big Falls Dump, Jacintoville, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 08:00 Chub 11:30 Crique Sarco San Felipe, Santa Ana, Midway, Conejo, Sunday Wood Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 05:15 Ack 12:00 Dolores Dump, Mafredi, Jordon, Santa Teresa, Mabilha, San Lucas, Corazon Creek, Otoxha Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 03:00 Pop 10:30 Golden Stream Dump, Big Falls, Indian Creek Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 06:45 Pop 13:00 Golden Stream Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek (for Nim Li Punit) Mon to Sat 07:30 Pop 17:00 Indian Creek Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee Mon to Sat 12:00 Pop 21:00 Indian Creek Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee Mon to Thurs 15:30 Bol 06:00 Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo Mon to Sun 05:00 Chunny 11:30 JalacteDump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon to Sat 03:00 Bol 16:00 Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 15:00 Shol 12:00 Laguna Elridgeville Wed/Fri/Sat Pop 11:30 Medina Bank Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek (for Nim Li Punit)Mon to Sat 05:30 Chunny 11:30 San AntonioDump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 06:00 Coc 12:00 San Antonio Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 06:30 Coc 12:00 San Antonio Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 13:30 Teck 12:00 San Benito Poite Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek (for Hokeb Ha), Santa Teresa Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 04:30 Sho 11:30 San Jose Jacintoville, Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Ca Wed/Sat 04:00 Choc 12:00 San Jose Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Cah Mon/Fri 05:00 Chen 11:30 San VicenteDump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 02:00 Chen 05:30 San Vicente Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 14:00 Bobby 11:00 Santa Ana San Felipe (for Ixcacao)Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 07:15 Cal04:30 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 13:00 Cal11:00 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia (for Lubaantun), San Miguel Mon to Sat 06:00 Cucul 11:30 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia (for Lubaantun), San Miguel Mon to Sat 07:00 Cucul 16:00 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 12:30 Cucul 21:00 Silver Creek San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Thurs 16:00


11 Flights Depart Punta Gorda Arrives Belize City Service Provider Depart Belize Intl. Arrive In Punta Gorda Service Provider 06:45 07:55 Maya Island Air 08:10 09:15 Maya Island Air 06:30 07:30 Tropic Air 07:50 09:00 Tropic Air 09:30 10:35 Maya Island Air 10:10 11:15 Maya Island Air 09:20 10:20 Tropic Air 10:20 11:30 Tropic Air 11:30 12:35 Maya Island Air 12:20 13:30 Tropic Air 11:35 12:35 Tropic Air 14:20 15:30 Trop ic Air 13:35 14:35 Tropic Air 14:40 15:45 Maya Island Air 16:00 17:05 Maya Island Air 16:40 17:45 Maya Island Air 16:00 17:10 Tropic Air 16:40 17:40 Tropic Air James Bus Line Schedule Departs P.G. Arrives Belize City Departs Belize City Arrives P.G. 03:50 10:30 05:15 Express (except Sun) 10:30 04:50 11:30 06:15 12:45 05:50 12:30 07:15 13:45 06:00 Express 10:45 08:15 14:45 07:50 14:30 09:15 15:45 09:50 16:30 10:15 16:45 11:50 18:30 12:15 18:45 13:50 20:30 13:45 19:45 14:50 21:30 15:15 21:45 15:50 (except Sat) 21:15 15:45 Express 20:30 Boats to and from Puerto Barrios GuatemalaService Provider Dep Punta Gorda Arrive Puerto Barrios Depart Puerto Barrios Arrive Punta Gorda Requenas Charter Service 09:30 10:30 14:00 15:00 Pichilingo 14:00 15:00 10:00 11:00 Memos 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 Boats to Livingston depart on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. Marisol 16:00 17:00 13:00 15:00 TRANSPORT SCHEDULES BTIA Welcomes More New Members Ixchel Womens Group The Ixchel Womens Group in Indian Creek village is one of the longest estab lished womens groups in Toledo having been in operation for the past fif teen years. Its ten members from the community of Indian Creek make and sell crafts and show guests how they grind and make corn tortillas, extract raw sugar from the cane and other traditions of the Maya. We wrote about the Ixchel group in a previous issue of The Toledo Howler and now welcome them as one of the newest member of BTIA, wo rking together to promote the rich cul tural diversity we offer visi tors to the south. Maya Bags BTIA welcomes back Maya Bags. They produce high qual ity products sold in New York department stores and Be lize hotel gift shops. Contact Maya Bags at belizeexecutivedirec or call +(501) 722 2175 and speak to De siree Arnold the local manager.




13 Chocolate Festival of Belize Chocolate Cooking Competition Sweet Category Dark Temptation Cake by Katarina Polonio IngredientsPre baked brownies for center 2 cups sugar 1 cups of flour 1 cup cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 cup milk cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla essence 1 cup hot dark coffee Method 1. Heat oven 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans or a 13x9 baking pan 2.Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on a medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in hot coffee. Po ur the batter into the prepared pan. 3. Bake for 30 35 minutes for round pans and 35 40 for the 13x9pan or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pans. Cool completely Then frost with your favorite frosting and garnish with cocoa nibs and chocolate bar chunks. The brownies that are baked into the center of the cake... 1 box of Her shey's brownie mix Mixed as said on the box Baked in a rectangle pan. Cut into 1 inch square bites. Roll the baked square bites into a ball by using your hands. Wedge a chocolate bar chunk into the brow nie bite. Then place them into the greased and floured pan before pouring in the cake mix.Savoury Category Chocolate Chili by Jill Burgess Young Ingredients 2 medium onions coconut oil 3 tomatoes 1 head of garlic 3 quarts water cup chili powder cup of cumin powder 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder Ground chili pepper from PG Market 1/8 cup of sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 3 cups of black beans, boiled and pureed 3 small cans tomato paste to 5/8 cup grated caca o beans Plantain (optional) 1.Saut the onions in a tablespoon of coconut oil and soften them. Add chopped tomatoes and chopped garlic, saut. Add the water, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, big pinch of ground chili pepper, sugar and salt. 2. Simmer then add the black bean p uree, tomato paste and grated cacao and stir until well mixed. Simmer slowly until it thickens. Note: Although it is nice and thickens it up a little, the tomato paste is optional and I sometimes omit it because it gives me heartburn! Highly recommend the beans pureed or whole an d squished a bit, not only to thicken it but to add protein. The plantain is a texture substitute, not a protein substitute. The plantain will thicken the chili after simmering a few minutes. The following two recipes were entered into the chocolate cooking competition as part of the Taste of Toledo celebrations on Front Street in Punta Gorda on the Saturday of this years Chocolate Festival. We are pleased to reproduce them below for our readers with thanks to Katarina Polonio and Jill Burgess Young


14 10 Reasons to come to the DFC 1. Valuations At No Cost 2. Low cost closing/ Legal Fees 3. Lowest Rates on Productive Sector Loans 8.5% 4. Lowest Interest Rates on Micro Sector Loans 8% 5. Flexible Repayment terms up to 15 yrs 6. Adequate grace period up to 4 yrs 7. Sound project formulation and analysis 8. Access to Technical Assistance 9. Friendly and Welcoming Staff 10. An office near you Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize City, San Pedro, Belmo pan, Dangriga, Punta Gorda Town (Upper floor of SSB Building) in or our website at or write us at


15 ProWorld Belize Exactly fifteen years ago, the idea of ProWorld started to ferment in Richard Webbs mind, a born Peruvian. He met Nick Bryngelson while working at an NGO in the Sacred Valley, Peru. Both shared the same philosophy and ideas and started making plans to start ProPeru. ProPerusgoals were to help Peru with ca pacity building, co create projects within the community and help the local economy, by having these interns stay and eat at local establishments. In 2000 ProPeru had their first group of students visit Cusco. In 2003, Nick visited Belize and fell in love with the country. ProPeru was now called ProWorld and Belize was the second country where ProWorld visitors could com e and learn about the Belizean people and its different cultures and at the same help with workshops and projects within the community. ProWorlds first office was operated by Grey Powell in Hopkins village. Three years later it was moved to San Ignacio, a more central town and easier to access other areas of the country; ProWorld Belize had become very popular and it was a huge success. There was a need for expansion. ProWorld has offices in over ten countries. Their philosophy is service learning or in other words visitors exper ience and learn about the community they are visiting and at the same time help via teaching and sharing in the same community. Visitors give something back to the communities where they stay. Internships offered by ProWorld are: Health, Education, NGO management, Media, Environment Conservation and Economic Development. Nicole A ndrewin, who now heads the office in Belize, first started to work at the San Ignacio office seven years ago. She saw potential in the Toledo district and three years ago, with the help of Cherri Mae Avilez, the second office in Belize was opened in Punta Gorda. The interns that ProWorld brings to Tol edo stay with families or family run establishments and work in various projects and workshops around the district. ProWorld brings between 500 to 700 guests to Belize each year. The average intern stays for four weeks. Projects accomplished by ProWorlds guests include a septic tank that was built this year for the Toledo C ommunity College. Many health education fairs have been organized in Punta Gorda and surrounding villages focusing on balanced nutrition. Workshops in Health Education have also been delivered in a lot of schools. A library was established at St. Benedicts school in Indianville where the voluntee rs put up all the shelving and and organized and catalogued the books. At St. Peter Clavier School sheds and tables were constructed. ProWorld has also assisted and worked with the PTA of Barranco village in rebuilding and re thatching guest house in the village. Profits gained from this guest house goes towards the childre ns education. Other examples of community projects are: organizing workshops for Toledo Business Association. Building a biogas digester at Columbian River Co op. Help construct Tumil Kins radio station and toilets. Proworld has also collaborated with Sustainable Harvest International in construction of solar latrines and clean burning stoves. ProWorld is not only about bringin g in tourism into Belize but also about empowering and inspiring Belizeans to appreciate their country and community. As Nicole puts it, "Our Staff at ProWorld works for the community and participants coming from abroad to ensure that both share and learn from each other in a way that ben efits everyone. For more information about ProWorld please contact Nicole Andrewin at 610 1063 or email her at Canadian high school students digging massive hole for Biogas digester at the Columbia River Co op ProWorld guests building a clean burning stove with Sustainable Harvest International


16 Word on the Street: The Visitors Perspective Kim and her husband Bob are from Missouri and first came to Belize in 1999 when they wanted to visit a country that was warm, but not too developed or touristy. Kim recalls that they got hooked on Belize and theyve made several return visits since then, bringing with them a number of family members and friends on their various trips. We tracked Kim down on her travels around the District to get a visitors perspective on Toledo. What attracted you to Toledo? My first visit south was in 2003 when I wanted to get "off the beaten path" and was interested in learning more about the various cultures. It seemed Toledo was the perfect place to do this and I love the cultural diversity that you find here. How does Toledo compare with other places in Belize? Geographically, it's similar to Cayo in terms of waterfalls, rivers and ruins but without the crowds and with th e added bonus of the cayes. Toledo's various cultures are much more intact than elsewhere and you often get the feeling of witnessing something for the very first time. Finding a licensed guide in Toledo is more challenging than in other areas. I dont mean that to so und dismissive as Toledo has some truly exceptional guides but they dont advertise as heavily as some other areas in Belize which is why theyre more challenging to find. [Editor: Visitors are advised to book tours through one of the licensed tour operators, who are legally responsible for ensuring your guide has a valid license and th at you are covered by public liability insurance in case of accident See list of tour operators on Page 19] How did you travel to Toledo? what was good and bad about the journey? Ive not made the whole journey by bus I love bus travel in Belize, but I m always keen to try and maximize our vacation time, so weve both flown and rented a vehicle on different occasions. Flying from Belize to PG is an experience the views are wonderful and by the time you reach Placencia most of the passengers have de planed and you can get acquainted with the few remaining travellers, which has led to some really great conversations, as well as tips on things to do. If you're in a group of four or more and share the costs, renting a vehicle has its advantages and one of th e biggest for me is the beautiful Hummingbird Highway, closely followed by stopping at Colemans Caf for lunch. Having said that, the weather doesnt always behave and although it seems pretty pointless driving along the most scenic highway in the country in the pouring rain, you can't see the hills and the knuckles on the steering wheel are white, its still worth taking that chance! (But do drive cautiously) How long are you staying? Ive met lots of people staying only three or four days but, in my opinion, anything less than a week is barely worth it. It takes a day or two to become acclimated, a few more days to see the sights, then another day or two to let the relaxation sink in. Personally, the first two times I visited Toledo, I stayed longer than I'd originally planned. What was the most surprising thing about your visit? The new ly paved road west of Dump heading into the Maya villages it was quite startling to have a faster, smoother journey up to San Antonio and I can see that when its finished it will rival the Hummingbird Highway for beautiful views. The other eye opener was the lack of snakes on West Snake Caye! What were the highlights of this trip? My first successful visit to Uxbenka and Rio Blanco falls. What did you like the least? The temperature! We were surprised by a cold front and when jumping into a river after a day of hiking and visiting ruins doesn't sound the least bit appealing, you know it's cold! Favourite food? Seafood! It's so fresh and it's prepared in so many ways. But cohune cabbage comes a close second. Reef or rainforest, cayes or culture? I think more research is needed!Lets just say, you can do it all from here. Favourite activities and tours? Strange as it might sound, my favorite activity in Toledo is to listen. There are so many people with amazing stories (tour guides, care takers, etc). My most memorable experience in Toledo was staying in San Miguel village, where we hiked to Ti ger Cave and returned by a dug out canoe. I know there have been changes in the past ten years, but I'd love to try it again. Spending a day in Barranco is a favorite, too. The road can be rough, but its worth the trip. The House of Culture ho lds a historical record of the Garinagu in Belize and Alvin who acted as our guide is a true gem. Be sure to try hudut and visit Andy Palacios grave. Ya'axche's Ranger for a Day program isnt a tour, but its a great activity. We accompanied a Ranger on his daily transect to document recent wildlife activity. As the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve isn't open for general tourism, we felt privileged to have been given a glimpse of the area and to have played a small part in its preservation. Travel tips? Be polite!! Ask your hotel staff, other visitors and tour gu ides about their favorite tours or any new tours available. If you pre plan every day of your trip you may miss out on a once ina lifetime experience. ALWAYS hire someone to guide you through the Maya sites; there's a huge difference between taking photos of a pile of rocks and learning about the site. Will you be coming back? There's a pretty good chance :) Golden Stream


17 Arzu Mountain Spirit: Natural Solutions for Low Libido Many healing traditions interpret a low libido as a sign of declining health and not necessarily a sign of old age. The loss of passion condition is not exclusive to men, as it affects both men and women. It is called frigidity in women and impotence in men; both labels refer to the same low libido condition. Frigidity in women is a sexual unresponsiveness and inability to achieve orgasm during intercourse. Impotence in men is where you can perform sexually some of the time, but not always, even when you have the best of inten tions. Impotence is also recognized as a symptom of a medical condit ion called Erectile Dysfunction, or ED. We hear mostly about the male side because low sex ual vitality and loss of libido is more noticeable in men. Men dont have the benefit of being able to fake sex ual performance; and when they cant perform, they need help. Traditional medicine bal ances the libido in the same manner regardless of gender. Nature does not dis criminate. There are a variety of treatments for impo tence available today; both natured and denatured. There are different non invasive, drug free things peo ple can do to enhance their libido. But few are exercis ing that option. Mo st people (mostly men) are using denatured pharmaceuticals such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra to enhance their libido regardless of the risks involved. Viagra is currently the most popular drug for impo tence and the sexually active alike. Only qualified doc tors can prescribe this drug an d it sells at around $10 per pill. Viagra takes anywhere from 30 minutes to over one hour to take effect and warns of adverse drug reactions which include: sneezing, dizziness, headaches, flushing, dyspepsia, photophobia, palpita tions, priapism, heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death and there are more recent findings th at link Via gra to blindness. These serious side effects can happen and have happened and there are many news stories about men who have fallen victim to these side ef fects. Cialis is another drug that does the exact same thing as Viagra, even though they have different chemical structure s. Cialis is five times stronger than Viagra. It can cost up to $22 per pill and last over 36 hours (compared to Viagra which lasts 4 hours). It is called the "weekend pill" due to its long lasting benefit. Some of its side effects include back pain, flushing, muscles aches, headaches, stuffy/runny nose and loss of vision. Another impotence drug recently on the market is Levitra; very similar to Viagra and Cialis and does the exact same thing they do. Levitra effects last from 4 5 hours in total and takes more than 40 minutes to take effect. It has a more powerfu l effect than the other two only because the dosage is bigger. Levitra even has more side effects. In addition to causing nausea, abdominal pain, back pain, eye pain, rash, palpitation and heart attacks, Levitra has the added side effect of causing permanent penile tissue damage along with permanent loss of potency. There are alte rnative remedies for enhancing the li bido made with natured ingredients that have similar effects as the chemical drugs, except they have no side effects. The benefits of these herbal alternatives are that: they are safe, cheaper to obtain, more readily available and there is no prescription or consultation fee required. Every country gr ows their native libido helper. Africa has their native Yohimbe, a hormone stimulant effective in the production of testosterone. It has been used in Africa for thousands of years to heal impotency and to strengthen sexual desire and vitality. North America has the mild aphrodisiac Damiana, an herb used to balance male hormones and treat impotence. It contains properties to stimulate the male hormone testosterone and is used for the female reproductive organs and aids to energize and stop frigidity. And Belize has the Strongback, aka Amor Seco. The name says it all. Strongback ha s been used by traditional healers as a tea to calm people with edgy nerves (nervousness). It grows wild all over Belize. It has been used for thou sands of years by people for a variety of health issues. The Garifuna Buyei believe the plant has magic powers in love matters an d magically improves love making in marriages; they prescribe an herb tonic made of Strongback to couples to rekindle a waning romance. Throughout Central America Strongback is used to restore moisture in lovemaking, hence the Spanish name Amor Seco (dry love). Not a bad herb to have as an ally when re claiming your potency. This herb works only when you love the person, as it will awaken only wha t is already there; a great relaxing herb for impotence. It also works to alleviate muscle pain and backaches, by the way. Science has determined the primary physical cause of impotence is nutritional deficiency due to a poor diet. Natural cures for low libido in volve restoring the bio chemical balance of your body and making the dietary and lifestyle changes you need to make to improve your overall health. So lets start by making sure you are eating the right libido raising foods and getting the proper amount of daily nutrition. In your greens, you can include a little known food used traditionally to balance the libido; the ladyfin gers. Ladyfingers, more commonly called okra, is a very useful vegetable and inexpensive vegetable medi cine that is available practically year round and easy to grow. Okra contains soluble fiber which helps control the cholesterol level in our bodies.It is used in tradi tional medicine to boost sexual vigor; due to its aphro disiac qualities. It good for the body and its good for ladies too, especially those close to menopause. Okra promotes friendly ba cteria (probiotics) of the intesti nal tract and helps in biosynthesis of vitamin B. It is a rich source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid. It does not hurt to include it in your diet, even if not for your libido. Do it for your overall health. Zinc deficiency is common in people who suffer from a sexual dysfunction. Raise your zinc level. Wild Yam, a Belizean native, is an herb that balances hormones and stimulates the production of natural steroid hor mones, as in precursors of progesterone and it con tains high amounts of zinc. Shellfish, seafood and crabs, which are in abundance in southern Belize, are very high in zinc. Bukut Tea (Stinking Toe) increases sexual and physical energy. It also strengthens endur ance, blood circulation and builds blood. There is an ancient aphrodisiac made from chaya now coined Chayagria. You have to ask the men about that as I have only heard tell. Eliminate high fattening and high cholesterol foods that only send plaque and cholesterol to your arteries. Choose high fiber foods that are low in fat instead. This means adopting a diet that includes more green vegetables, ground foods, seasonal fruits and more seafood (not fried) and less dead meat. Strongback is best used if mixed with wild yam and/or saw palmetto berries. Strongback


18 Southern Voices: Dr Joseph Palacio Dr Joseph Palacio has a doctorate in anthropology and is a well known and respected figure through out Belize. He was born in Barranco but moved within a year to live and grow up elsewhere. He was educated at the University of Toronto, The University of Manitoba at Winnipeg and the Uni versity of California at Berkeley. He was the first Belizean Archaeological Commissioner. He has recently moved hom e to his birthplace and was elected Chair of the Barranco Village Council in May. Have you always lived in Toledo? I was born here in Barranco but left before I was year old. I lived in San Antonio, Toledo wher e my brother was a teacher and other places around Belize. I think it was this movement, introducing me to the Maya and Creole cultures and growing up in them, that sparked my interest in anthropology. It was what I might call a patchwork growing up that is not at all unusual for the G arifuna. I did not return to Barranco until I came back to conduct my doctoral fieldwork and it was this that really marked my full time entry into the community. Now that you are the Chair of the Barranco vil lage Council can you share your vision for Bar ranco in the years ahead? We were only elected on 19th May and so are just four months into our term. We are trying to de velop an action plan for things that need immediate attention and a develop ment plan with a longer term strategy. Whatever the plan, you are con strained by the nature of the village council; that it is voluntary work with no remunera tion; the council has no sources of revenue and the village has high expectations. Our first ac tions were to reclaim the Community Centre from the dogs that had moved in and to restore it to its in tended use. We have done that by establishing rela tionships with the Ministry of Works and also the log ging concessionaires along the road to Midway village who provided lumber for the work. The longer term development plan would address issues with the roads and access and sani tation. We would also like to help the craft makers in the villa ge develop their market. And a fitting monument for Andy Palacio is essential for the village. One of our over riding concerns right now is the viability of the village school with such a small resi dent population. What are the most significant changes you have seen in the district in your lifetime? The highway is probably the single most significant change but the development of local environmental and cul tural consciousness through SATIIM (Sarstoon Te mash Institute for Indigenous Management), the Yaaxche Conservation Trust and Maya Leaders Alliance are encouraging. In education the Univer sity of Belize Toledo campus, Toledo Community College, Julian Cho Technical High School at Dump junction and the new high school in Corazon are all major factors in bringing change. How do you see the development of tourism in Barranco? It is important that we put a signature or mark on what it is that we are marke ting. We have not yet exhausted the potential for cultural tourism. For example, our Garifuna sisters and brothers visit in large numbers at least twice a year to participate in the ancestral ritual called dg. We have large groups visiting Barranco twice a year for pilgrimage and ceremonies as well as other smal ler groups throughout the year. If tourists are interested in cultural experiences then I would definitely include Barranco. They could get involved in cassava bread making that is a process that stretches over two days. Or they could go fishing or take a boat tour along the Te mash River where there are the sites of earlier plantations. The Toledo Ecotourism Association (TEA) guesthouse has now been turned over to the Parent Teacher Association and the revenue re ceived from visitors goes to the PTA and the school. (To book call Antoinette Zuniga on 605 0215). Tourists could get involved in cassava bread making that is a process that stretches over two days. Or they could go fishing or take a boat tour along th e Temash River where there are the sites of earlier plantations. Barranco is the dugu capital of the Garfiuna world. The dugu is a ceremony for the placation of the elders and healing of the sick. It takes place in the dabuyeba (temple) now known as the Marcel Cayetano Complex. Marc elo Cayetano was the grandson of Juan Pedro Cayetano who was among the first Garifuna to be born in Central America according to records from Livingston in Guatemala. These are baptismal records from a Belgian Roman Catholic mission established there around 1840. The availability of land around Bar ranco attra cted people from Seine Bight and Punta Gorda and as they arrived and settled the religion and culture deepened leading to Barrancos pre eminence as a ceremonial centre. Do you prefer the reef or rainforest? The rainfor est because we are surrounded by it but the vil lage has looked both ways to sea and in land during its history. The banana industry flourished during the Twenties and Thirties along the Temash River but when it declined commercial fishing be came more important. What is your favourite Belizean dish? Afoo, it is a yellow yam that tastes a little bitter. It is pounde d as hudut, which is usually made from green plan tain. And tikin is the sauce that it is eaten with. That has a flour base that is sauted with onion, garlic and other seasonings. Of course, the sauce contains some fresh fish. Well, thanks for your time Dr Palacio. We wish you every success in developing Barranco. You are welcome, Howler. Dr Palacios most recent publication is Garifuna: Continuity in Land: Barranco Settlement and Land Use 1862 to 2000 Joseph O Palacio, Carlson J Tuttle, Judith R Lumb 2011 Producciones de la Hamaca, Caye Caulker. The book is available from Amazon. The Barranco story shows the capacity of the Garinagu to organize themselves firstly and afterwards within th e framework of British colonial legislation....explores every nook and cranny of the numerous aspects in which land and land tenure are linked together in Barranco from 1860 to the present Odile Hoffmann, Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, Universite Paris Diderot, France This fascinating study at once a searing portrait of the birth and persistence against all odds, of a particular Garifuna community; an account of the conflictive relations between that community and the state power, whether colonial or nationalist;...We learn how they were formed, developed, rav aged by war, forced into exile and how they rose out of the ashes of military de feat and expulsion from their homeland to preserve themselves triumphantly as a nation across borders. Assad Sho man, Prensa Latina, Havana, Cuba.


19 ToledoTourism In formation Centre Front Street, Punta GordaTown Monto Fri 8am to 4pm,Sat 8amto 11.30am Tel: 722 2531 Email: BTIA Toledo Online There is an increasing number of sites with information about Toledo from web sites for hotels, guest houses and tour operators non governmental organizations and blogs. This issue we feature three. Find out about cacao growing by visiting the home of the Toledo Cacao Growers Association that has done great work en cour aging the development of cacao organic cacao farming in Toledo and representing the interests of the local cacao farmers who make up the member ship of the association. Ya'axch Conservation Trust is a Belizean organization which aims to maintain healthy forests, rivers and reefs for the benefit of all. Through protected area management, advocacy, and working hand in hand with communities Ya'axch strives to develop capacity for the wise use of land and natural resources in and around the Maya Golden Landscape in Toledo. Living Life to my Own Drumbeat is the personal blog of Ruth McDonald th e Scottish wife of Ray McDonald a local Garifuna drummer. Her latest post begins Some visitors to Belize may leave with the illusion that many of its residents are, shall we say, under worked. Stores that close for two hour lunch breaks, people lounging around in hammocks in the middle of the day, people that extend even the Beliz ean definition of right now to seemingly endless stretches of time. But just as you wouldnt judge the overall productivity of Spain by observing their lunchtime siesta, or assume they never eat dinner just because none of the restaurants have opened by th e time you go to bed at 10pm, take a pause for thought before you judge a country without knowing or understanding the culture and economic realities. Now visit her blog and read on. Licensed Tour Operators in Toledo District Belcampo 722-0050 Big Falls Extreme Adventure 634-6979/620-3881 Cotton Tree Lodge 670-0557 Garbutts Marine & Fish ing Lodge 722-0070/604-3548 The Lodge at Big Falls 732-4444/610-0126 Reef Conservation International 629-4266 Suncreek Lodge 665-6778/604-2124 TIDE Tours 722-2129


20 E: m T: (501) 742-4050/660-2840 W: www.ixcacaomayabe