Find Our Roots Feel (Y) Our Rhythms

Find Our Roots  

Feel (Y) Our Rhythms 


By Lebawit Lily Girma  



Bileez! Itname that remained shrouded in mystery for centuries, its etymology only recently confirmed to be of Maya origin. And as you begin exploring and making your way around “The Jewelas Belizeans call their homeyou will quickly realize that this small country in the heart of Central America is, indeed, one big, colorful collage of origins 


Belize is roots. And Belize is rhythms 


It’s a small place overflowing with ancient customs, indigenous tongues, and traditions passed on from generation to generation. It’s a nation whose people are intent on preserving their ancestryand fiery in protecting their pristine environment against the vices of the modern worldIt’s a haven for diversityland that has welcomed settlers and migrant populations across the centuries, with seven major cultural groups enriching every corner of the country  


In Belize, roots are 

The two thousand year old Maya temples you’ll climb  

The incomparable living Barrier Reef, where hundreds of critters await 

The caves and crevices where sacrificial relics lie   

The idyllic cayes, where fishing and flip-flops are a way of life 

The medicinal plants, and the furry kinkajous on your rainforest walks  

The riverside Kriol communities, and the mangrove cathedrals hugging your boat 

The vast reserves and jungle hikes, where you’ll conquer your fears  

The sizzling tacos, and steamy johnnycakes that fill your belly on the road 

The Mestizo fiestas, and the thatched-roof villages where time seems to have stopped 

That sweet Belizean rumand the spicy micheladas curing your hangovers. 


As you discover more roots on your journey across the Jewel, you’ll fall into a world of vibrant sounds. 


In Belize, rhythms are 

The drumbeats of the Garifuna, and the swing of their punta 

The beat of the steel pan, and the thump of the sambai 

The song of scarlet macaws, and the croaks of the keel billed toucan 

The melodic sounds of Kriol, Qeq’chi, and Chinese 

The ring of the Maya marimba, and the nostalgic blues of paranda 

The chilling roar of howler monkeys, and the gush of 1,000-feet waterfalls 

The stealth prowl of jaguars in the night, and the squeal of manatees underwater 

The mystical deer dances, and the shamans of yesteryear  


The cheer of marching bands, and the joyful spirit of September carnivals 

The stories shared over Sunday dinner, and that sweet, slow Caribbean pace. 


Wherever you end up in the Jewel, find di rootsand you’ll feel di rhythmsours, and yours.  


That’s the real meaning of Bileez! 

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