Flowers of Belize: Flor de Pato “Duck Flower”

flowers of Belize and Hamanasi

The biggest flower found in Belize A.grandiflora in full bloom in the Hamanasi garden.

The “Duck Flower (A.grandiflora) is the largest flower found around Belize and the Hamanasi garden.  Due to their large size and brilliant colors they make a stunning addition to the Hamanasi grounds.  There are 10 unique species found throughout Belize and many are often locally referred to as the “Contribo” or “Guaco” as well as the “Duck Flower”.  Many of these species are highly regarded as for their traditional medical use.  The flower can often be seen soaking in a bottle of rum at saloons.  Taken by the shot for everything from hangovers and flu to flatulence, late menstrual periods, and irregular heartbeat. But users beware, the A.grandiflora species contain Aristolochic acid which the American FDA has announced as a known carcinogen so their consumption is not without danger.  Best to look but don’t eat.

Belize flowers

The Duck Flower closed just a few days away from blooming.

For the aspiring gardener, several juvenile butterflies such as the swallowtail and cattleheart butterflies use the Duck Flower as a food source while in the larval stages, so adding the Duck Flower to the garden increases our likeliness to spot these beautiful butterflies.  During your visit to Belize ask a Hamanasi garden team member like Nathan to share with you this amazing flower.

“The Manasi Project – School supplies for the Hopkins Village Children”

The Manasi Project

Nic Brownrigg and Principal Natasha, receiving the school supplies for the Hopkins Children

This was Ryc, Sandra and Nic Brownrigg 4th stay at Hamanasi.  Over the years they have become part of the Hamanasi family.  Nic first visited to Hopkins Village in 2008 when the Brownrigg family visited Belize for Nic to complete his PADI Open Water SCUBA diver course with Hamanasi Adventure Center.  During his visit Nic met and fell in love with the many people of Hopkins Village.  He found the Hopkins area to be one of the most beautiful places he had ever visited; but what stood out the most was how the people of Hopkins lived.  He was also moved by the poverty he saw, but how happy everyone still lived, he knew these were unique and amazing people.  When he left Belize Nic knew he wanted to help his new friends. During his second and third trips he brought donations of medical and school supplies for the village.  These donations were warmly received but he knew he could accomplish more if his efforts were assisted by others.

The Manasi Project

Scissors, crayons, glue school supplies donation for the Hopkins Children

Fast-forward to 2014.  This year the Brownriggs visited Hamanasi in late November and Nic and Sandra took time during their visit to meet with the principal from the Holy Family Primary School Natasha Acosta to introduce the new “Manasi Project.”  Founded by Nicholas Brownrigg when he was 15-years old the Manasi Project brings hope to children in impoverished areas by providing necessary educational supplies. The Manasi Project has begun by serving Hopkins Village in Belize where Manasi means “respect” in their local Garifuna language. The Manasi Project hopes to build a worldwide culture of mutual respect by improving educational opportunities not only in Hopkins Belize but worldwide.

Hamansai is very proud of Nic Brownrigg’s accomplishment with The Manasi Project.  His efforts and the donations of many have surely brought many bright smiles to the Hopkins kids and their familys.

To get more information on how to donate to the great cause you can visit The Manasi Projects homepage.

 

Cassava – Healthy Living

Cassava is a great gluten-free substitute.

Cassava root after harvest before it’s been prepared to cook.

At Hamanasi we are aware that many of our guests have special dietary requirements, from low sugar and nut allergies, to gluten free diets. We want all of our guests to be able to sample to delights of our kitchen and bakery so we use native local produce to substitute certain items that may be incompatible with the dietary requirements. One of these substitutes is cassava, which we use as a substitute when cooking and preparing food for guests with a gluten free diet.

Native to Brazil and the tropical areas of the Americas, Cassava (also know as manioc, tapioca or yuca) is widely grown all over Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Africa and the South Pacific. A root vegetable with a brown fibrous skin and a fleshy white interior, it has been around since long before the arrival of Columbus. Cassava provided a stable source of food to the Taino, Carib and Arawak populations, especially in the form of cassava bread. While there is evidence of manioc pollen in the Gulf of Mexico lowlands dating to 4600B.C., the earliest evidence of cassava cultivation comes from a 1,400 year old Maya site in El Salvador.
Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in tropical and sub-tropical regions helping to provide a basic diet to over half a billion people, mainly thanks to its ability to grow under strenuous conditions such as in areas of low rainfall and nutrient low soils.

Once harvested cassava needs to be washed and peeled before it is used, but it can be used in so many ways. When cooked properly to detoxify it, the soft boiled root has a delicate flavor and can be used to replace potatoes in many ways, including as an accompaniment to meat, as a flour in dumplings and gravies, or even fried as chips. Cassava can also be made into a sweeter choice as a crepe or a cake. This typically involves grating the cassava and mixing it with coconut milk or even fresh grated coconut and steaming it.

Belize Gluten-free sweet cassava snack

Cassava is as versatile as it is tasty and is equally good as a sweet gluten-free snack as it is as a starch at meal time.

Cassava is a food with a long list of health benefits. Cassava is very rich in many minerals that are beneficial such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and manganese. As well as being rich in fibre, it is also rich in carbohydrates, making it a perfect dietary addition for a highly active lifestyle. Along with being gluten free, cassava is high in its levels of saponins, which are a phytochemical responsible for helping to lower the levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the blood stream.
So all the arrows point to cassava being a healthy choice of vegetable for any diet

Talking Diet, A Gluten-Free Alternative at Hamanasi

Belize Gluten-free sweet cassava snack

Cassava is as versatile as it is tasty and is equally good as a sweet gluten-free snack as it is as a starch at meal time.

At Hamanasi we are aware many of our guests have special dietary requirements, from low sugar and nut allergies, vegetarian to gluten free diets.  We want all of our guests to be able to sample to delights of our kitchen and bakery so we use native local produce to substitute certain items that may be incompatible with the dietary requirements.  One of these substitutes is cassava, which we use as a substitute when cooking and preparing food for guests with a gluten free diet.

Where gluten-free food starts, in the ground.

Cassava plant before harvest.

Native to Brazil and the tropical areas of the Americas, Cassava (also know as manioc, tapioca or yuca) is widely grown all over Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Africa and the South Pacific.  A root vegetable with a brown fibrous skin and a fleshy white interior, it has been around since long before the arrival of Columbus.  Cassava provided a stable source of food to the Taino, Carib and Arawak populations, especially in the form of cassava bread.  While there is evidence of manioc pollen in the Gulf of Mexico lowlands dating to 4600B.C., the earliest evidence of cassava cultivation comes from a 1,400 year old Maya site in El Salvador.

Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in tropical and sub-tropical regions helping to provide a basic diet to over half a billion people, mainly thanks to its ability to grow under strenuous conditions such as in areas of low rainfall and nutrient low soils.
Cassava is a great gluten-free substitute.

Cassava root after harvest before it’s been prepared to cook.

Once harvested cassava needs to be washed and peeled before it is used, but it can be used in so many ways.  When cooked properly to detoxify it, the soft boiled root has a delicate flavor and can be used to replace potatoes in many ways, including as an accompaniment to meat, as a flour in dumplings and gravies, or even fried as chips.  Cassava can also be made into a sweeter choice as a crepe or a cake.  This typically involves grating the cassava and mixing it with coconut milk or even fresh grated coconut and steaming it.

Cassava is a food with a long list of health benefits.  Cassava is very rich in many minerals that are beneficial such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and manganese.  As well as being rich in fibre, it is also rich in carbohydrates, making it a perfect dietary addition for a highly active lifestyle.  Along with being gluten free, cassava is high in its levels of saponins, which are a phytochemical responsible for helping to lower the levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the blood stream.

So all the arrows point to cassava being a healthy choice of vegetable for any diet.

Introducing Singanga’s Redesigned Menu, One Delicious Organic Item at a Time.

new organic menu at Hamanasi's Singanga restaurant

Hamanasi’s Singanga restaurant proudly introduces their new organic sustainable vegetarian quiche of the day.

After our resort closure to put the final touches on the new great house and the newly redesigned Singanga Restaurant we introduced many new organic menu items. Many of these new items are organic or vegetarian using sustainable products. Hamanasi’s goal has always been to be a sustainable resort and we take pride in all of our department’s practice of the 3 R’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” In the grounds department we reuse/recycle by composting. In the bar we recycle wine bottles as aggregate for our cement pathways and our kitchen also practices reusing with a few sustainable menu items. One of the items in our new redesign menu is our “Quiche of the day”.
Like many of our menu items, our quiche are produced with local Belizean products like fresh eggs, cheese and many of the vegetables are grown in our organic sustainable garden. The raw fresh prep vegetable from the night before that went unused are used as the key ingredients for this savory pie.

organic sustainable garden at Hamanasi

Many of the items from Singanga’s menu come from our organic garden.

Some of our new quiche options include tomato, zucchini, yellow and red bell peppers, onions, broccoli and spinach as well as other seasonal vegetables.
Today our feature is spinach from the organic garden along with roasted bell peppers and onions prepared by our baker to entice your taste buds… inquire with your server on our daily variety during your stay at Hamanasi.

“Belize Scuba Diving Adventures and New PADI Divers”

Belize Scuba Diving lionfish hunters

Smiling Hamanasi Dive Guest with lionfish catch

It’s been a week of ups and downs for our divers here at Hamanasi. We started the week out with amazing Belize scuba diving weather and all divers were chomping at the bit to get further and further out to some of our amazing Belize atolls. Joining us on Sundays dive was our soon to be new Adventure Centre Manager Chris with Hamanasi’s new Sustainability Manager Vicky who were out getting a feel for our reefs. They were joined by Bob and Edina who were making a couple dives after arriving from Florida and we had repeat guests

Belize Scuba Diving cleans up invasive lionfish

Hamanasi guest improve Belize Scuba Diving by cleaning up invasive lionfish on the reef

Gia and Adrianne from San Diego out working towards their PADI Advanced Open Water certifications with local Belize dive instructor Roy. Perhaps the biggest personality on the boat and giving Big Daddy a run for his money was Big Mike who was determined to make a dent in our invasive lion fish species population with his spear. It was such a beautiful day on the water and throw in our beautiful spot for surface intervals out at Salt Water Caye we couldn’t have asked for a better day. I mean the guests were treated to seeing an octopus and sea horses during their surface interval.

As the week went on the diving got just a little bit better. Monday was another day to the local Belize barrier reef, but on Tuesday our guests were treated to some of our best diving as the weather cooperated for us to head to Glovers Atoll for a three tank dive day. Joining us this day was also Blake who was finishing up his final dives to complete his PADI Open Water Course and Gia and Adrianne were back on the boat ready to finish up their final advanced dives. On the dives our guests came up cheering for seeing Nurse Sharks, rays, and a couple turtles. Everyone was so happy and we were stoked because the weather was about to turn and our guests would turn their attention to our in-land tours as the winds were going to keep the boats along the dock at Hamanasi until Saturday, but that’s all part of the adventure. After watching Big Mike working on the lion fish population we had some new spearers just itching to give it a try. I have to say they were pretty good as the seven of them were able to take out over 80 lion fish! Yes, that’s 8-0 lion fish that will not be able to spawn and add to the population. The weather is looking amazing this week and we’re excited to get back out for more Belize scuba diving.

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ August 2014″

“Every single staff member that crossed my path truly made my stay the best that if could be.  I really felt that I was part of a family.”

Bianca Brehen, Astoria, NY

“Great job! Very nice and relaxing.  Very responsive staff.  Thanks so much.”

Anne Robertson and Family, Marion, MA

“Everything was amazing.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  I loved all the eco efforts being made with the local food system.”

Jennifer and Damon Miller, Denver, CO

“Your service was outstanding!”

Emily and Chris Walker, Odessa, TX

“Love, Love, Love your Eco-friendly efforts!  One of the reasons I chose this resort for our first trip to Belize.  Everything was unbelizable!”

Amanda and Walter Evans, Eugene, OR

“Continue to invest in and develop your people – focused culture of excellence.  Well done and thanks!”

Charles and Branda Reed, Warm Springs, VA

“The service is perfect – keep doing exactly what you’re doing!”

Fredrick & Carolyn Stewart, Charlston, SC

“Service was top-notch!  Joy to stay at a resort that understands people are here to see nature and takes efforts to preserve it.”

Kerri Crawford, Saint Louis, MO

“Staying here was a dream! The rooms/grounds are gorgeous and the staff was eager to make our stay the best experience possible.”

Katie and Robert Bursley, Shreveport, LA

“Stay green! Live Sustainable! Their passion for what they do, their love of their country and their love for nature, that fever was contagious.”

Joseph Reeder, Colombia, MI

“More Donations For The Hopkins Health Center”

IMG_1516We give big Thanks to George Bolton and Sheri Bronfin for the medical supplies donated IMG_1517 IMG_1519 to the Hopkins Health Center.  George and Sheri stayed with us for a week in July 2014.  Melonie Flores a member for our #greenteam presented the donations to Dr. Valentine, the doctor in-charge here in Hopkins village.

“Silk Grass And Sittee River Kids Get BackPacks”

sittee riverOn Wednesday 23rd July the Green Team also were able to go to Silk Grass School and hand out 14 backpacks again filled with school supplies and also go to Sittee River School and hand out 15 backpacks filled with school supplies.

silkThe children at Sittee River School very kindly sung for us and showed us their craft projects that use all recycled materials so a great project that fits perfectly into what the Green Team do! Maybe we have a few future Green Team members currently at Sittee River School!

Hamanasi would like to thank our very generous guests for donating some many backpacks and school supplies, we could not keep having these Back To School Fests without all of you. Thank you again.

“2nd Annual Hamanasi Back To School Fest In Hopkins”

On Sunday 20th July 2014 Hamanasi’s Green Team held the 2nd Annual Back To School Fest in Hopkins Village. This year we started off by having Ms. Charlotte Garnet very kindly lead all the kids in singing the Belize national anthem to formally open the Fest. Then we had educational talks by special guest speakers.

bird talkMs. Celeshia Guy, Manager of Belize Bird Rescue and Ms. Lauren Whitfield, an intern gave a very informative talk about keeping birds and information about the 9 different parrots that are found in Belize. They made it fun for all and even got audience participation by getting the kids to read out the different types of parrots.

Fest 4  manatee needs your helpThen Mr. Jamal Galves, a Manatee Research Associate at Sea 2 Shore Alliance/Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute spoke about Manatees that are found in the waters in Belize especially around Hopkins and introduced the kids to a prize wheel where if they answered a question correctly about the information they had just been taught they had a chance to spin the wheel to win a whole host of different prizes.

There was then a safety talk by PC Claudious Cardinez regarding curfew times, reminding kids to not just jump in anyone’s car and also that double ride is actually against the law. After talks from our guest speakers we had 2 talks by our very own Green Team members!

CPRFirst off we had a CPR demonstration by our newly qualified Emergency First Response Instructor Mr. Martin Carr who taught the kids what to do if they see an accident and how to do CPR until the emergency medical service arrives.

Then Mr. Juan Tun, Hamanasi’s very own green fingered organic gardener, explained to all the kids and parents that growing plants at home is neither hard nor expensive. You can create simple compost using left over food scraps, garden waste and old seaweed washed up on the beach. Also you don’t need to buy expensive plant pots, simply use the inside of a toilet roll to plant seeds and then when the seed has sprouted you can use the remains of a coconut for the plants to continue to grow.

Great information from all our special guest speakers!

After the speakers Hopkins School Principal Ms. Seferina Castillo handed out the backpacks stuffed to the brim with school supplies for the neediest children in Hopkins Village.

Games 1 gamesIn the afternoon all the kids joined in with many games that were held on the beach to win school supply prizes including, three legged race, running race, marble and spoon race and sack race. For those that weren’t feeling so energetic we had a colouring in table for the kids to complete the activity sheet kindly given to all of them by Belize Bird Rescue. At the end of the day all the kids had a great time and every single attendee went home with lots of school supplies donated by Hamanasi’s very kind guests.Kids back packs