This past weekend many of the PCVs in the Central and Northern parts of Belize gathered together and headed over to Brodies on The Northern Highway. Brodies is an upscale American-like supermarket, very different from the more traditional Belizean markets and shops. The store, along with local radio stations and other businesses sponsored a free concert. It was the long awaited return of Belize's own Andy Palacio. The free concert was originally scheduled for early September during the independence day celebrations, but was changed when hurricane Felix threatened Belize.
Live From the parking lot at Brodies
Yeah, I still can't dance, but I try to entertain when I can
Anthony and Andy Palacio. Yeah, he's signing my CD. What's up?
Andy Palacio is a Garifuna and originally comes from the village of Barranco (almost at the very southern tip of Belize, not too far from Punta Gorda town). The Garifuna came as slaves of the British from West Africa in 1635. On their voyage to the Caribbean, their craft was shipwrecked off the shores of what is now known as the island of St. Vincent. The surviving Africans were welcomed by the resident Indian populations which after many years led to a distinctive afro-American-Indian population. In 1797, The French arrived to their island and siding with the Garifuna people, attempted to defeat the British who were seeking control of St Vincent. However, they lost the battle, were captured, and then sent into exile on a small island off the coast of Honduras. Nearly half of the Garifuna died en route. The remaining survivors, about 3,000 in total, journeyed out and began settling small villages on the coasts of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Today there are roughly 250,000 Garifuna around the world, everywhere from Belize to Miami to Los Angeles and New York City. Concern has arisen as over the last hundred years or so, the Garifuna culture and language has become one of the most threatened in the world. When Andy Palacio was only 18 years old, he traveled to Nicaragua and met an old man who was among the last in his country to still speak the Garifuna language. The old man could not believe his ears when he heard the young Palacio greet him in Garifuna. He embraced Palacio and refused to let him go. The elder could not imagine someone so young could speak his language. He had believed the language would perish with him. Palacio believed that what had happened in Nicaragua was very likely to occur in his own country of Belize and from that day on decided to follow his passion for Garifuna music and use it as a vehicle to promote the Garifuna culture, and to inspire young people to be proud of their heritage. We have included a few clips on the blog for you to listen to. Palacio's music is very spiritual and is written and composed to echo the poignant history of the Garifuna. We had an amazing time at the concert and standing among the many Belizeans in the crowd we could certainly feel the powerful emotions behind the music.
Anthony and Janine
Keeping PCVs locked up post concert
Fellow PCV Nicole
Brodies decked out for the holidays
Hanging out at the concert
Challenges Volunteer Mark, also one of our old roommates
A shot of the stage
We've included some pictures for the many people that keep asking for more to be posted :) Aside from the concert, we are both very busy with work, enjoying our new freedom in our own place, and looking forward to doing some traveling in the coming weeks. We'll keep up to date as often as possible.
Here's a video from the concert, be patient, it may take a few minutes to load