A Paranda Star in the Making

IMG_8188Emilio Nathaniel Thomas was born, and lives in Dangriga, Belize. He is a talented singer-songwriter who has been performing Paranda music for 13 years.
Paranda is both a rhythm and a genre of music, its the music of the Garifuna people and its performed solely on acoustic instruments, namely the guitar, Garifuna drums, shakers, and turtle shells.

Emilio is passionate about keeping this style of music alive, and this comes through in his performance. Much of what he sings has been written himself, he says “my music is about togetherness and awareness of the goodness in life!” Its telling a folklore story which usually has a moral. His favorite song to sing is Yurumeina “because it reminds me of where I came from and how far I can go, by just believing, you can make it happen.”

His biggest musical inspiration is Aurelio Martinez, aka Aurelio, a well known Garifuna musician from Honduras, with roots in Garifuna culture.

Affectionately known as “Sasamu Garifuna” which means “wise”, one of his biggest accomplishments was touring through Europe in 2014 with the Garifuna Collectives, they performed in 10 countries over a period of 2 months.

In 2013 Emilio, had graduated from college and had been teaching music for almost 2 years when he decided to give everything up – why….? Because he needed to find his true self, the 6 months spent alone, played an instrumental role in shaping who he is as an artist and as an individual today. “I needed to take some time off to find my identity”. Emilio is seen as the next Paranda Icon in Belize, but with so many different opportunities coming his way he is still incredibly dedicated to his kids at Dellie Acadamy.

He is driven by his music, takes pride in his building his craft, loves sharing with others and learning more each day. In the future he would like to be touring different countries, sharing his music, culture and country with the rest of the world. But for now you can see Emilio every Sunday night, performing his favorite songs right here at Hamanasi from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

 

“Meet Our Team ~ Evan Martinez”

evanEvan, affectionately known around the dive team as “Groovy”, is one of Hamanasi’s newest snorkeling guides. A certified Belize Tour Guide, Evan joined the Hamanasi marine team in March 2014, bringin his big smile and even bigger personality with him. Coming from Hopkins village, Evan, as well as his friends, has a passion for diving and removing the dreaded lionfish from our reefs…..as well as a nice cold afternoon beer. Over the last year Evan has made a real impact on the marine team, dedicating his time to furthering his dive training, completing his rescue diver earlier this year, and is now just days away from becoming a certified PADI Divemaster.

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ November 2015″

“Everything was perfect!”

Jim Blairs & Jenny Weyler, Shrewsburg, MA

“We were constantly amazed by the green efforts around the grounds and loved every moment.”

Anna Robinson & Nico Ager, Brooklyn. NY

“Awesome to see a resort doing everything they can to conserve this beautiful place.”

Cathy Heshmat

“We thoroughly enjoyed out visit. We were able to relax, rest and unplug.  Thank You!”

Melissa & Tom Skiavo, Alexandria, VA

“Amazing Service!”

Travis and Sina Pelleymounter, Tampa, FL

“Continue your excellent service to guests and community. We loved it here J.”

Vince Colunga, Austin, TX

“Your staff is special – it was so wonderful to be recognized by name and have our preferences remembered.”

Janet & Boyce Fender, Hockessin, DE

“Everyone is always smiling and greeting made us feel at home. Gave personal service.  Had a wonderful vacation!  Thank you Hamanasi!”

Sanjiv & Hema Bhakta, Biloxi, MS

“Quite amazing! Everything was perfect!

Margaret Kerr, United Kingdom

“Your doing such an amazing job.”

Brad & Chelsea Gruters, Flagstaff, AZ

“Lovely to know they are doing so much to promote preservation of this beautiful country and tis natural resources.”

Steve & Julia Liska, Chicago, IL

 

“Food and Fete ~ A Celebration Of Garifuna Cuisine”

Collage 2015-11-15 19_53_11 (3)On November 13th, 2015 our Excective Chef Marcia Nunez and Sous Chef Jane Martinez both Garifuna Hopkins natives competed with Belcampo Lodge, Walucos, Aasha’s Kitchen, Laru Beya and Jaguar Reef Lodge for a culinary battle celebrating Garifuna Garinagu Cuisine to which we walked away as the Gran Price Winners.    Main course was pan seared Baruru with #lionfish along side calaloo and chaya dressed in coconut milk.  Dessert was a cassava crème brule and the drink was “Sahua” with fever crossed and a dash of brandy.

Even with the weather conditions of down pour rain, wind and limited kitchen accessories the girls kept their wits and were are so proud of you Marcia and Jane for a job well done.  Hamanasi is so proud to have in both in their team!

“Garifuna Cooking Class”

Garifuna Cooking Class  

Our Garifuna Culture has been proclaimed as an intangible heritage of humanity! Join us as we introduce to you the full Garifuna cultural experience from dressing in a Garifuna traditional outfit to exploring the foods through this cooking lesson.

Hudut is the popular Garifuna dish which you will learn to cook from scratch.  It is comprised of green and ripe mashed plantains called “Fu Fu” and a coconut fish stew.

While the food is cooking you will tour a Garifuna Gallery and your host will explain and describe some of the Garinagu artifacts that have been collected throughout these years.

In addition to the Garifuna culinary wonders, enjoy the pulsating rhythm of the Garifuna Drums.  Be one with Belize while learning how to drum, dance and sing with friendly & professional indigenous people.  drumming

This tour will introduce you to the culture, history and traditions of this unique Garifuna fishing village.

‘Hamanasi Guest Book ~ September 2015″

“It is great to see the commitment to keeping Belize pristine/natural.”

Brian Sullivan, Pittsburgh, PA

“The entire staff was amazing. The team at Hamanasi is exceptional. The handwork, hot humid weather, nothing stops them from being helpful and friendly.”

Steve and Angie Harwanko, Cary, NC

“This place is great. We loved our stay. Family friendly, adventures, fun, family oriented..Awesome!”

Jamie Saylor, Vienna, VA

“Your services are top notch!”

Cynthia Jevons, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

“Our stay was magnificent. Sorry it was so short. We have to come back soon.”

Cynthia Roach, Tracy, CA

“Community Love”

pic1This last year as been an amazing year for Hamanasi, we have met many new people and made many new friends. We have grown as a company and as a family, with a few new faces joining our wonderful team.

Hamanasi is built on our love for the beautiful environment that surrounds us, and we passionately try to be as sustainable as possible every day. Many of our guests will come to visit us with an understanding of the importance of preserving our natural environment, but they also come with an understanding that without our community, we would not exist. Each year we support the continued education of the children from Hopkins, but also from the surrounding communities of Silk Grass, Sittee River and Maya Center. Our education fund helps to provide financial assistance for families for schooling, but the generous donations of school supplies, crayons, pens, pencils, writing books, arts supplies, backpacks, means that the children can go to school with all the things they will need to start the school year right.

 

We have also supported the continued efforts of the Hopkins Belize Humane Society for many years, and will continue for many into the future. The clinics, supported by volunteer veterinarians both local and international has provided the communities of Stann Creek with free spay and neuter clinics as well as low cost clinics for other surgeries. The HBHS work tirelessly within the community providing education for people with pets on how best to care for them, with very few resources. This is why the donations that we receive from guests such as leashes and collars, flea treatments, pet treats, toys, all items that seem so small, mean so much to our communities.

 

Throughout the year we have been able to give out these donations to the HBHS, and to the children, especially at events such as the Kite Fest, the Easter Fest and the Hopkins Day Fest. Our big end of year celebration was to take over 100 backpacks, each over flowing with school supplies, to the schools to be able to help the children of less fortunate families.

pic3Our donations this year totaled just over 510lbs, which is nearly 100lbs more than last year, and this is all because of the generosity of our guests. We cannot thank everyone enough for what they have given to Hopkins and the surrounding communities.

Hamanasi and Pack For A Purpose Team Up To Outfit Hopkins Pre-School With School Supplies

Hopkins village pre-school supplies donations under privledged

The Hopkins pre-school class proudly showing off their donated school supplies and backpacks

Here at Hamanasi we have strong links to our community of Hopkins and have a strong belief that as part of the community we must do everything we can to support and help Hopkins to grow and develop.  One of our favorite relationships is with the schools, not only in Hopkins, but also in the surrounding areas of Silk Grass, Sittee River and Maya Centre.  Many guests bring down small packages of school supplies such as pens, pencils, crayons, art supplies, writing books and backpacks.  Once we have a collection of supplies the Hamanasi Green Team puts together enough packages for each one of the children and then they get delivered to the schools and the children.

 

Pack for a purpose donation for school supplies Hopkin's Village school Belize Hamanas donations

Little girl from the Hopkin’s Village pre-school receiving her new backpack from the Hamanasi Green Team.

Last week the Hamanasi Green Team took 38 school supplies packages to the Holy Family Pre-school and handed them out to the boys and girls at their Christmas party.  The packages were filled with crayons, stickers, posters of colours and numbers, construction paper and some Christmas toys.  It was great to help the children with items that they can use both in school and at home to learn as they have just a few more months before starting in the main school.

We would like to send a big Thank You to everyone who brought something on their trip to donate to the schools, no matter what the amount it is always appreciated.

If you would like to donate any supplies to the schools around Hamanasi or to the Hopkins Belize Humane Society (HBHS) you can find all of the supplies that are most appreciated on the Pack for a Purpose website.

Pack For A Purpose Logo at Hamanasi Belize helping the community

(PFAP Link http://packforapurpose.org/destinations/central-america/belize/hamanasi-adventure-dive-resort)

“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.

 

“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.