“The Garifuna People of Hopkins”

During the 1600′s, several slave ships were wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent, an island in the southern Caribbean.  The Africans who had been aboard soon found the Island Carib Indians, who inhabited St. Vincent and several nearby islands.  In defense of their land and freedom, Africans joined with Indians and the Garinagu culture was born.

By the early 1700′s the Garinagu population began to predominate the islands.  For years, equipped with muskets and ammunitions, they successfully defended the island of St. Vincent from European encroachment. In a final eventful battle however, the Garinagu were defeated, rounded up, and deported on a hired ship called ‘Experiment’ to the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. It is from this island location, under the leadership of the now legendary Alejo Beni, that they made their way up the coast to Belize, which was called British Honduras at the time.

Between the years 1832 – 1900, the Garinagu made several settlements along the coast of Belize. Today, the Garinagu are known to be people whose main livelihoods surround the natural abundance of the sea and diverse coastal ecosystems. The Garinagu communities of Belize are primarily located in the south, in the beautiful seaside villages of Barranco, Sein Bite, Georgetown and our very own Hopkins. Dangriga Town is the largest community, and is often referred to by locals as the ‘culture capital of Belize’.

In 1941 Thomas Vincent Ramos founded Garifuna Settlement Day and began the celebration in Dangriga. By 1943 it had spread to include the southernmost district of Toledo and was declared a public and bank holiday in the south.  It was not until 1977 that the Government declared Garifuna Settlement Day a public holiday throughout the country of Belize.  Today, November 19th is celebrated by hundreds of Belizeans, in Garinagu settlements countrywide, with cultural drumming, singing and sunrise re-enactments of the boats arriving on shore. Like many other cultures in Belize, the Garinagu has maintained the integrity of their native tongue by raising the younger generations to proudly speak their language. Their language is called ‘Garifuna’.

This idyllic little village of Hopkins is quickly becoming the cultural center of the Garinagu population. The vile was created in 1942 to replace the village of Newtown, which was devastated by a hurricane further up the coast.  Hopkins consists of approximately 1’000 villagers, and is separated into two parts; the Northside (Baila) and the Southside (False Sittee). It is surrounded to the west by the majestic Maya Mountains and the lush Cockscomb Range, and to its east, by the Caribbean Sea. The people have traditionally lived from farming and fishing, but more recently have found work in the growing tourism industry. The residents are known for their friendliness and genuine hospitality, and welcome visitors to their village. Hopkins was recently voted “The Friendliest Village in Belize” by Belize First Magazine, and Destination of the Year 2010 by the Belize Tourism Board. Hopkins has a selection of gift shops, restaurants and small bars.

 

“Back To School Project Sucess”

A BIG thank you to all our Hamanasi guests that somehow contributed towards the Back to School Project 2012, we could not have done this without you all.

From a pack of pencils, story books, crayons up to school bags, all these donations were given to the needed school children from Hopkins, Maya Center and Silk Grass which brought big smiles to their faces. 

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ August 2012″

“Hamanasi has 3 things that set it apart. Best staff/great atmosphere/best variety of trips.”

Jon and Renee Gregory, Oxon Hill, MD

“Love the natural atmosphere and that you keep as much nature as possible.”

Tricia Wynne, Bronx, NY

“I have fallen in love with Hamanasi with all the wonderful staff. I want to be more eco-friendly because of Hamanasi!”

Samuel and Praisy Matthew, New York, NY

“You and your staff are superb ambassadors for Hamanasi and Belize. The staff is so proud of Hamanasi, of Hopkins and of Belize. We will miss you all.”

Scott Valentine and Family, Des Moris, Iowa

“The eco-friendly efforts were very noticeable and added a nice touch to the experience.”

Jessica Patton and Andrew Overton, Long Island City, NY

“Thanks for making our honeymoon an unforgettable experience!

Jessica and Kai Nielson, Vancouver, Canada

“Stay simple and relaxing! You have a very good operation going.”

Jamie Trout, Herndon, VA

“Everyone was amazing – nice – again above and beyond. Keep it the same, very personal. Keep the resort small and intimate. It’s excellent and we can fell everyone is passionate about great service. “

Charles Ablores and Family, Spring, TX

“Keep doing what you do – getting to know your guests even though your stay is short is a wonderful personal touch.”

Mike and Colleen Way, Calgary, Canada

“How to improve perfection? No suggestions, it was perfect!”

James and Becky Carter, Odessa, TX

“Keep doing what you are doing. Your people are your greatest assets.”

Caitlin Burns and Family, Angola, IN

“This place is A+++. I loved feeling part of the Hamanasi family. Every detail was thought of. Thank you for an amazing vacation.”

Stacey and Rob Bladen, Herriman , UT

“Hamanasi has 3 things that set it apart. Best staff/great atmosphere/best variety of trips.”

Jon and Renee Gregory, Oxon Hill, MD

 

“September Green Newsletter”

                                                     Hamanasi Organic Garden and Current Production

With the addition of Mr. Juan Tun, organic gardener and environmental conservation activist from the Cayo district, as a part of our Gardening and Green team, our organic garden will further develop and become officially certified by Belize Organic Alliance, organic control and certifier in Belize, as being a sustainable garden. Moreover, we are now partnering with BOA to encourage and promote sustainable crop and livestock production in Belize.

 

 

 

 

Outside the cover structure, the organic garden is landscaped with fruit trees that attract birds and other wildlife around the property; and inside the structure, basil, mint, green onion, oregano, and cilantros have been intercropped as repellant crops amongst cash crops such as tomato, habanero and sweet pepper, cabbage, lettuce and cucumber to control pests and diseases.  (Report done by Francis Flores)

 

“Introduction of Mr. Juan Pedro Tun To The Hamanasi Family”

Hamanasi Green Team In emphasizing our commitment to Eco Tourism, Hamanasi continues to implement environmentally friendly practices. Such practices range from the conservation of water and energy, finding natural cleaning solutions that are cost efficient and protecting our natural surroundings without compromising quality service and accommodations. In addition to these efforts, we are committed in raising awareness by properly educating our staff and our guests about what it means to be ecofriendly. In so doing we have gone as far as hiring qualified personnel to provide such education. In this months’ issue of our newsletter we are featuring  Mr. Juan Pedro Tun, an organic farmer and educator. Mr. Tun is originally from the village of Santa Familia in the Cayo District, located in the western part of Belize. Due to his qualifications and expertise he has been hired as a consultant in the development of our Greenhouse efforts and environmental sustainability projects. Mr. Tun is of Yucatan Mayan, Hispanic and Creole Descent. Before 1998 during the years of his young adulthood Mr. Juan Pedro Tun left his native Belize to adventure and travel throughout South and Central America and reached as far as North America , during which time he sustained himself and afford his travels by working many odd jobs in each place he settled. Juan Pedro inherited his father’s farm land and livestock after his father passed away.  Throughout the years that followed he started experimenting ways he could reduce the use of chemicals and to eventually produce completely organic fruits and vegetables.  We are very enthusiastic about this new addition to our Hamanasi Family! Mr. Tun is an asset to our country and to this company that with his knowledge and background together we will be able to accomplish much more.

“Joining hands with the World in Planting for Tomorrow”

Hamanasi joins Earth Day 2012! Our Hamanasi team is dedicated to the environment. Everyone on the Hamanasi team has been inspired to plant a tree somewhere in Belize today. We in Belize are so blessed with a fabulous eco-system and we have a commitment to maintain our environment as mother earth intended. We wish all our friends every success with their individual efforts for Earth Day!

“April – Green Newsletter”

Hamanasi Migratory and Native Bird Population

 Figure 1: Plain Chachalaca

Hamanasi has kept and embraced its reputation as an eco-friendly resort in Belize’s Tourism Industry, and in its assurance in sustaining a unique image by preserving the environment and its biodiversity, the company’s rainforest guides have been conducting a migratory and native bird population study for a period of six (6) months. In the facilitation of the study, an onsite birding has been scheduled, and is ongoing for at least once every week, by three (3) inland guides who are Pedro, Lorenzo and Golden. The guides been have conducting the studies around the property from March 21, 2012 to April 4, 2012, and they have recorded 32 species of birds. Most of the bird species were sighted in more than two (2) occasions, in which the sighting frequency was 2.19. Our guests, especially those who are bird lovers, are welcomed to participate in the studies along with our gregarious and enthusiastic inland guides.

 

“March – Green Team Newsletter”

Our Organic Garden and Current Production

What is an organic garden?  An area where plants are produced by obeying the laws of nature — Industrial pesticide and fertilizer use is disallowed in our garden – Naturally produced fertilizers such as ash, compost, manure and organically produced pesticides and herbicides are encouraged – Integrated pest management systems (IMPS) practices are applied to prevent and combat pests and diseases. 

What are we producing?  A small scale fruit and vegetable productions is now at full swing in our newly established organic garden.  Healthier fruits, vegetables and herbs are now available for guests and staff in the restaurant and staff kitchen.  Watermelon, cantaloupe, pine apple, papaya, carrots, passion fruit, green onions, peppermint and basil, just to name a few, are now in production.

We invite you to come and get a tour of our organic garden! 

 

“Vets Without Borders from Arkansas, February Clinic”

We continue to have a fantastic 2012 for the animals in Hopkins, Sittee River and nearby villages.   The Carroll County Vets Without Borders from Berryville, Arkansas, returned for their 5th visit to Hopkins! Dr. Tina Cone, Ramona Hambrick and Anita Beeson had a fantastically fun… and incredibly busy… trip to Belize.  Over the course of four days of surgery (including one day when the air conditioning went out), the team was able to complete 18 spays, 17 neuters, a limb amputation, a femoral head ostectomy, dentals, a tumor removal, and entropion (eye surgery), several lacerations and over 80 exams!  Amazing!

Tina, Ramona and Anita also made it by Saturday puppy class to help clean up the park, help hand out dog food (one of our best HBHS programs) and hand a few kids treats they had brought along with them.   Hamanasi contributed once again to the HBHS program with accomodations, lunches and allowed the vets to take some time off from their busy schedule and go on one of our snorkeling trips to the Southern Barrier Reef.

Every time the Carroll County Vet team visits Hopkins, things go well. Old friends are reacquainted, and new ones made.  As always, we look forward to their next visit.

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ January 2012″

A big “Thank You” to all our guest that visit us on January 2012. Because of you all we started the year 2012 with a bang!!! We hope that you all had an amazing Hamanasi experience! We do hope to see each and every one of you again sometime in the near future.  All the best from Hamanasi staff and Management.

“Everyone was so friendly.  Wonderful place to come to relax and get away from it all.  Thanks for making our stay an unforgettable experience!”

John & Cynthia Haynes, Magnolia, TX

“Hamanasi is perfect! Everybody we dealt with at the resort was exceptional. Thank you!”

Dylan Harrop and Brianna Israel, Ontario, Canada

“We really appreciate staying at a resort where there are efforts not only to have a small foot print but to make Belize even more beautiful.”

McPeake Family, Providence, RI

“The service here is the very best I have encountered anywhere!”

Phillip Von Mucke, New York, NY

“We love this place and will return, I can’t imagine anything being better than the experience here.”

David and Rebecca Kosmitis, Magnolia, TX

“The treehouse are built in a way that is very considerate of the surrounding nature. Very friendly and accommodating.”

Debra Brandwein and Raymond Muro, Los Angeles, CA

“Fantastic~ very friendly and great hospitality. Keep up the great work!”

Rob and Lisa Heiar, Albuquerque, NM

“Applaud your efforts to keep the environment pristine. Keep it low key and peaceful just like it is.”

Brenda and Dennis Conaway, Worthington, IN

“We enjoyed the educational experiences while being on vacation! A great time!”

Kari Sapris and Family, Decatur, GA

“Hamanasi really gives a good impression of Belize and its wonderful, safe, friendly variety of people and activates. I will encourage others to visit.”

Donna White, Bridgeport, CT

“All service personal was excellent ~ best service we’ve ever had in years of travel!”

Dean and Susi Mitchell, Leakey, TX