Belize is the only English speaking
country in Central America, and is a country booming with opportunity. It is made up of gorgeous mountains, rivers, and rainforests.
However, what you will not find on Expedia is a large population living in extremely impoverished conditions. Nearly fifty
percent of the population live in huts, without running water, or beds. Here you will find a very friendly culture in need
Land of The Fatherless:
Belize is a place where
men do not know how to be fathers. Being part of Great Britain’s common wealth of nations, slaves were brought into
the land to cut lumber. In the 1800’s the Spanish controlled the Philippines and most of Central and South America and
the French controlled southern Asia. Belize was one of the few places where the British could get beautiful hard woods for
its castles and government buildings. So, thousands of slaves were brought and immediately separated from their family units.
This separation went on one generation to the next. Because of this, after receiving their freedom, there was little knowledge
of a family unit. Before Belize (British Honduras received its independence, when WWI and WWII came, many of the fathers went
off to war. Many stayed in Europe never to come home. Since WWII, because Belize is so close to the US, many fathers left
to go and find work. Knowing the English language made it very easy to find work and blend in. Thousands of Men left to find
work and send funds back to their families, but unfortunately found relationships with women in the states and never came
back. This has happened over and over again, leaving a fatherless society.
Belizean People (Population: 347,369)
Belize is a melting pot of many different cultures; it is the most ethnically and culturally diverse nation in Central America. And although Belize has the lowest population density in Central
America and one of the lowest in the world it also has the highest growth rate in the western hemisphere. This means with over half the people in Belize are less than
18 years old. Sadly most
of the Belizean children are born into a broken family. And so Belize faces social
problems due to the crumbling of family life and lack of male leadership in the homes and churches. Do you see why missions
to Belize are so very needed?Cultures:
Mestizo 52.9%, Creole 25.9%, Maya 11.3%, Garifuna 6.1%, East Indian 3.9%, Mennonite 3.6%, Caucasian 1.2%, Asian 1%Languages: English 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%,
Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9% Religions:Roman Catholic 40.1%, Protestant 31.5% (includes Pentecostal 8.4%, Seventh Day Adventist
5.4%, Anglican 4.7%, Mennonite 3.7%, Baptist 3.6%, Methodist 2.9%, Nazarene 2.8%), Jehovah’s Witness
1.7%, other 10.5% (includes Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Morman, Muslim, Rastafarian) Unemployment rate: 12.9% (2014
est.) Population below poverty line: 41% (2013 est.)
Belize has often
been called the green jewel, because about 70% of Belize is still prime jungle. When flying iover Belize you will see it is covered with teeming j ungle rainforests in the lowlands while the Maya Mountain
range is decked with pine trees. Wildlife includes jaguars, howler monkeys, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, birds, toucans, storks,
and sea life. Twenty miles offshore, and near many of the cayes, lies the second longest barrier reef in the world and the longest
barrier reef in the western hemisphere. Diving and snorkeling opportunities are plentiful out on the reef. The average rainfall is 50 inches
in the north to over 150 inches in southern Belize. Rain falls almost every day, except during the dry season from February to May.
This creates an everlasting summer. Though it is hard to distinguish any form of weather seasons, Belizeans go by two seasons
a year instead of four. There is a cooler dry season that often stretches from January - March and then gives way to the rainy
hurricane season lasting from June - September.
Belize is a democratic nation. In many ways it is similar
to the American government system. Belize became independent from Great Britain on September 21, 1981. Keeping their ties
with Great Britain Queen Elizabeth stayed on as head of state, and is represented in Belize by a governor general who acts on the
advice of the prime minister and the cabinet. The Belizean constitution safeguards
include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association. Belize-United States relations have traditionally been close and cordial. The United States is Belize's principal trading
partner and major source of investment funds. It is also home to the largest Belizean community outside
Belize, estimated to be 70,000 strong. Because Belize's economic growth and accompanying democratic political stability are
important U.S. objectives, Belize benefits from the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. The United States is the largest provider of economic
assistance to Belize, contributing via various bilateral
economic and military aid programs.
to raise enough food to feed its population. It depends heavily upon imported food and goods. Belize City is the center for the fishing industry, for shipping, lumber, coconuts, sugar, and lobsters.
Spanish Lookout, the Mennonite community where DCI is located is a farming community providing most of the grain,
Agricultural exports, mostly sugar, citrus fruits, and bananas, provide
over half the nation’s foreign exchange.
Belize has increased
their tourism in the cruise industry in the past 10 years. It is not uncommon to see a cruise ship or two docked a short boat
ride from Belize City.