“Janice and Pete Henderson Contribution to the HBHS”

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Volunteering at Hopkins Belize Humane Society was the best part of our trip to Hamanasi!   My 15-year-old, Pete, and I helped Dr. Baptist and Joseph during one of the monthly spay/neuter clinics.   We helped prep the dogs for surgery, wash surgical instruments, and organize supplies.  Our favorite part was returning the dogs to their families in Hopkins and San Ramon the next day.   The village children swarmed our truck when we drove up.  It was fun to hand out the dog food, leashes and collars along with their pet.   The children (and adults) were eager for information on how to take care of their pet and it was rewarding to teach them how to be good owners.     Because of HBHS, getting your dog spayed/neutered is becoming the cultural norm.  As we drove by, families would stop us to ask us to take their dog for surgery (“Next time!!  We’ll be back!!”)  It was a remarkable experience!

 

“Zan Art Classes”

Gail Morris a repeat guest, recently returned to Belize to introduce her daughter, Zan Morris to the Hamanasi family.  Zan contributed to the Hopkins community by doing four separate arts & crafts classes with the children at the local library. The kids ranged from five to twelves years old and were so excited.  Zan supplied all the materials, she gave very basic instructions and encouraged the kids to be creative in their own unique ways.  Some of the projects Zan did with the kids were :

-painted wooden masks (elephant, pirate, flower,  and lion masks)

-made God’s eyes (weaving yarn around craft sticks)

-decorate/painted star and fairy wands

-drawing using washable markers

-painting with Tempera paints

-jewelry making

-abstract art using craft sticks

-decorating and painting bags

-painting sun catchers

-painting/decorating their own plastic “school supply” box

-using glitter and stickers

-face painting (me painting their faces and them painting my face)

The children were particularly fond of having their faces painted. Aside from the four hour and a half hour art classes, Zan spent a couple afternoons painting faces at the playground.  Each class consisted of twelve students. Some students attended more than one class. All together,  Zan had about 30 students. Around 50 children got their faces painted throughout the week she was here.

Zan commented “I had a wonderful time!! The children in Hopkins are very polite, sweet enthusiastic and creative!”

She surely added big smiles to all the children from Hopkins that assisted her classes!  A huge THANKS to Zan for taking time out from her vacation to contribute to the Hopkins Community.

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“Lopez Donation To Mrs. Bertie Hopkins Community Library”

Miss Bertie’s Hopkins Community Library was established in 2008 by U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Bertie Lee Murphy. She became a Peace Corps Volunteer in June 2007, following a distinguished career in both the corporate world and in public service. Bertie was a vivacious and dedicated member of the Peace Corps family and served with distinction as an Education Volunteer in Belize, where she was an elementary education teacher-trainer in the southern village of Hopkins. Universally loved and respected, Bertie had recently repurposed a local building into a library filled with personal and donated books.

Donald Lopez an American citizen from California has been diving with Hopkins Divers for the past seven years and calls Hopkins his second home.  Every year Lopez donates to the community and this year was no exception.  He brought with him a custom built single speed bicycle, this was his only mode of transport for the few months that he stayed in Hopkins – he generously auctioned it off and all proceeds went to Mrs. Bertie Library.  It was a good turnout and BZ$205  was the final offer by Pam owner of Windschief.

Thanks to everyone that enthusiastically and generously participated and congrats to Pam on her new bike!O

 

“Hamanasi Green Team Makes Presence on Cacao Chocolate Festival 2013″

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Members of the Hamanasi Green Team took time out of their busy schedules to attend this year’s annual Cacao Chocolate festival. It was a 3 day event and the finale took place at the central plaza of Lubaantun San Pedro Columbia in Toledo district on May 26th, 2013. The participants were: Juan Tun, Chalita Salam, Suzet Matute, Chris Che, Martin Carr, Therese Roches, Jackie Gamboa, Audrey MaCaulay (cashier) and Francine Matute (organizer).

Our Green Team love to get out there and create awareness about our environment. They set up a stall bursting with information about Lionfish and the threat that it has on the reef, Hamanasi organic gardening, Composting, Vermin-culture and of course they are always handy with some green tips. IMG_3740

Prizes were given out to all the people that visited and participated with answering specific eco-friendly questions. There was Lionfish ceviche and coconut water for sale. They had a very successful day.

“Green Team Participates”

 

IMG_3150The Hamanasi Green Team participated at the Holy family School Fair March 2013. This energetic team had 1 goal in mind, to create as much awareness about our environment and the impact we have on it, and to achieve this they set out to impart their knowledge to the local Hopkins residents.

They had a fresh supply of Lion Fish Ceviche for sale – and gave out interesting facts of what damage this fish does to our reef system and how we can help by eliminating or at least decreasing the numbers. Less than 20% of residents did not know that lion fish is edible and so tasty!

Fresh produce like lettuce, bok choy, cabbage and herbs from Hamanasi’s organic garden were on display and the team encouraged the benefits of backyard gardening and composting.

They also talked about the goals of each department within Hamanasi Resort and all the eco-friendly products that are used at the Resort.IMG_3160

The team also had lots of fun giving out some Prizes; all you had to do was answer an easy question to win a Hamanasi t-shirt, water bottles or a lunch voucher for the restaurant. 100 coconuts plants were given away to be planted. The feedback from the public was very positive and refreshing. Overall is was a successfully event for everyone

 

“2013 Hopkins Kite Fest”

SAM_0219On March 16th, 2013 Hopkins village had it’s 9th Annual Kite Fest and over 100 children participated between the ages of 6 – 14.  The kids came out with different sizes, colors and design kites and all were very creative.   It was another successful year and all the participants were awarded a small gift for participating along with a snack.   Most donations were done by the local business and resorts in Hopkins.  The winner was Tyrell Roches and his prize was a new beach cruiser bicycle.

The day was full with fun, local food and music.

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ January 2013″

“Exceptional without hampering an excellent vacation experience!”

Scott and Judith Lindquist, Minneapolis, MN

“Everything is top-notch here! One of the finest places we’ve ever stayed.”

Gary and Carol Gibbs, Elgin, IA

“I don’t think we could have thought of a better honeymoon if we tried! Fabulous trip.”

Corey and Kelly Gurkovich, Silver Spings, MD

“Our entire family had a fantastic time. Thank you to each staff member for creating such a warm, relaxing atmosphere.”

Robert Schussman and Family, Orinda, CA

“We enjoyed the eco-friendly nature of the facility; also the emphasis upon local sustainability.”

Greg and Tammy Clifton, Telluride, CO

“How in the world do you remember all the guest names? Nice people – personal touch.”

Darline Darr and Anne Croghan, Seattle, WA

“Wonderful staff, very personal (knew our names), attentive, responsible, conscientious, well trained, try very hard; you should be proud of them.”

Gordon Radley and Amy Fable

“Excellent service – very thoughtful, accommodating and friendly. Went out of the way to make our stay enjoyable.”

Zaid Haider and Aakanksha Pande, Washington, DC

“It was amazing! Everyone was so wonderful, couldn’t be better!”

Jason Pokorny and Family, Thiensville WI

“It was un…Belize…able!”

Barbara Sullivan, La Grange, IL

“Service was perfect – can’t think of anything to improve upon.”

Kristin and Andrew Tennessen

 

 

“Deirdre Drama Classes”

 

Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas, one of our repeat guests visited us for the second time in October 2012.  Deirdre volunteered time from her Hamanasi vacation to mentor the Grade V school children of The Holy Family Hopkins School with Drama classes. Deirdre is presently Production Operations Manager and a Teaching Artist with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Deirdre has directed over 75 plays, musicals and operas for both adults and young people.

The children were exited throughout the sessions along with their Language Arts teacher Mr. Troy Coleman.   The participation of the class was incredible, filled with lots questions and laughter.   At the end of the 3 days session, the children were given a certificate of participation and some yummy snacks for the Hamanasi kitchen.

 

 

“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.