“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. 

“More and More Love For Our Furry Friends From The HBHS!”

The month of September was blessed with all the free clinics that the HBHS had for our animals from Hopkins, Dangriga, Silk Grass and Seine Bight.  They started the week with the Carroll County Vets Without Borders team of Tina Cone, Ramona Hambrick, and Anita Beeson — Belize veterans all. The idea was to have a half day clinic on Sunday, just to get back in the groove, and not be too rushed. Ha! FORTY TWO dogs showed up between 1pm – 4pm, needing surgeries (7), treatments and check ups! Thank goodness we had plenty of help! Volunteers from Saga Humane Society (Heather Beck and Kathy Marin), Humane Society International, and our regular crew managed to make some sense out of the starting gun dash out of the gate.

Next, ten of them caravanned to Seine Bight on Monday morning, to partner with the Placencia Humane Society for a two day clinic. PHS had secured the brand new Seine Bight community center, and they were blessed with plenty of space! Over two days, Dr. Tina Cone and Dr. Orlando Baptist treated almost 100 animals. The collaboration between HBHS, PHS, Saga Humane, Humane Society International, Dr. Baptist and the Carroll County Vets Without Borders was magical.   They returned to Hopkins for another busy half day clinic on Wednesday, seeing 33 animals, 12 of which were surgeries. Then on to Dangriga on Thursday, where they partnered with Dangriga Pet Care to treat EIGHTY FOUR animals between 8am and 4pm. They were working Dr. Cone all full capacity, when Dr. Kathy Kvam, arriving for her clinics the next week, stopped by having just arrived at the Dangrgiga airport… and jumped right into surgery. They were grateful she was such a trooper.  Dr. Cone, having well earned a rest, then passed the baton to Dr. Kvam.  Dr. Kvam and her team of Kerry O’Donoghue, Karin Mixon, Kevin Guyer and Tom McNeely then hosted 3.5 days of clinic in Hopkins, treating 98 animals, 50 spays and neuters and 4 other surgeries.  IN TOTAL…  Dr. Tina, Ramona, Anita and Dr. Kvam, Kerry, Karin, Kevin and Tom treated 376 animals, did 88 spays and neuters, and 10 other surgeries, including broken legs, tumor removal, exploratory surgeries and various wounds.

“Giant Stride For C-Dog”

While we were closed in September for yearly renovations, Dive Master Shawn Lozano better known as “C-Dog” took time out of his vacation to go to Honduras and attend the PADI Instructor Development Course with Utila Divers. The course is run by Andy Phillips and it took two weeks to complete. It  entailed long days of class and water works culminating  in a two day exam which he sailed thru. C-Dog has now join the ranks of PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and he is very enthusiastic for this coming season as a Hamanasi Instructor. He is looking forward to creating fantastic new divers and impart his knowledge of the marine environment with his new students.  Hamanasi is very proud of his efforts and wishes him the best of luck!

“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)

 

“Donation to Summer Bible School”

The Sittee River Seventh Day Adventist Church hosted a summer vacation Bible School program for a week where over 32 children from Sittee River Village attended. Mrs. Shelmadine Robinson, born and raised in Sittee River was the organizer of this event and was very happy with the attendance. She is a children lover and is very passionate of giving back to the kids and community. Art and Crafts, singing, acting classes and many more fun activities were all included in the program.

 

Thanks to all our guest who have contributed and continue to supporting our Back to School program, with your assistance we were able provide suitable supplies along with school bags to the children  who attended this year  Summer Bible School Program.

 

 

“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.

“Hopkin’s Day 2012″

This weekend in Hopkins is a festive and fun place to be. The intense beating of drums followed by singing and dancing will welcome you as you enter the sleepy fishing village of Hopkins. It makes the 71st year of the arrival of the Garifuna to Hopkins, and Hopkins Day has been celebrated since 1990. It is a festival that grows every year. and aside from the villages more and more Belizean people from other parts of the country are coming to be a part of this cultural festival.

There will be lots of fun games and drumming entertainment with a variety of cultural and Belizean food for everyone during the day. Saturday night will come alive with the Punta fest where many bands from around the country will be participating.

Join us and let’s all celebrate in one of Belize growing tourist destination.

 

 

 

“Generous Donation For The School Children”

We would like to thank Marie and Lee from Cherry Hill New Jersey for their generous time spend in collecting monetary and school supplies donations for the school children of Hopkins and Sittee River Village. Marie and Lee visited Hamanasi on March, 2012 and shared with the children a very cheerful afternoon.. Over 25 school bags with school supplies with given out to the young kids from the Holy Family Hopkins School and Ms. Bertie Hopkins Library. 

Lee and Marie then travelled to Sittee River Methodist School were a vast amount of school supplies include, stick glue, crayons, pencils. etc were donated. Preparing our children for a better future and helping them develop and become professionals is our main priority.

 

Vice Principal Fritz Coleman along with Des the librarian appreciated the visit of our guest and the valuable support provided to the school children.

 

“Hamanasi Guest Book – April 2012″

Everyone so friendly and knowledgeable about all services, information about Belize. Great culture. Everything is perfect in paradise!

Lee and Sandra Gregoire, Colorado Springs, CO

‘The little touches speak well of the care and thought placed into the environment, but with very elegant touches and display. It would be difficult to improve on something so flawless and perfect.

David and Shauna Norton, Altadena, CO

“I will come back for many reasons, but the most important one is the quiet environment.”

Mike Sturm and Family, Brookfield, WI

“I think it’s the amazing service that makes Hamanasi #1 Hotel in Central America.”

Regan Pritzker and Family, San Francisco, CA

“I applaud Hamanasi’s effort in protecting our earth when so many resorts do not have a desire to do so! In this regards alone, Hamanasi is light years ahead of any other place I’ve been to! Absolutely perfect! Only suggestion – please put a Hamanasi in my town so I can go there more often.”

Andrew and Jen Cirigliano, Allenwood, NJ

“The service and staff are wonderful; they are so kind and helpful in every way. We had a wonderful vacation.”

Paul and Marsha Story, Washoe Valley, NV

“I stay at 4 and 5 star hotels around the world and this is the best!

John and Amanda Tobler, San Jose, CA

“Hamanasi never uses the words “no”, “can’t”, “not possible”. Everything is accommodated. Great place to stay!

Tracy Madden and Tom Throop, Durham, NH

“We really enjoyed all our interactions at the resort, very friendly and personal atmosphere. We had fun and relaxed at the same time. Great Honeymoon!

Sara Snow and Allan Pett, Farmington, MI

“We have stayed at 10+ lodges in Belize and Costa Rica over the last 6 years. Hamanasi trip ranks as one of the best ever. Best service hands down. Great staff! Thanks for a great week.”

Jesse & Elaine Satterwhite, Raleigh, NC

“Everyone was friendly, professional and helpful. We felt cared for, liked and special! Exactly the right combination of pampering and adventure!”

Sue and Peter Gibbons, Block Island, RI

“Everything was perfect!”

Lisa Raffael and Family, Burlington, VT

“Amazing service and thoughtful resort touches were everywhere.”

Peter Danis, Ballwin, MO

“Keep doing everything that you’ve been doing. We couldn’t have asked for more. I find it wonderful when business take the time and make the effort to conserve the environment around them.”

Matt and Alicia Matuszewski, Buffalo, NY