Supporting Cultural Integrity in Immigrant Communities
Belize is known for abundant biodiversity and a combination of cultures and languages. As a former British colony, English is the official language, which is unique among the counties on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is especially known for its rich Maya heritage, with many archaeological sites available to explore. It is also home to the world’s second longest barrier reef. Most Belizeans live in rural or semi-rural areas where agriculture is the primary source of income. Healthcare services in these areas tend to be out of reach and inconsistent, which is why 7 Elements focuses our interventions around eco-health and community structures.
7e focuses our interventions primarily in Medina Bank which is located on the coast about 3 hours southeast of the nation’s capital, Belmopan. Medina Bank has a population of about 1,000 and is a settlement of Mayan people. In addition to working on projects in Medina Bank we travel to nearby nature reserves and Mayan villages. With community driven building and infrastructure projects, student on these programs will explore the native landscape and culture, including a visit to ancient relics of the Maya Empire, such as Xunantunich, and will meet a native naturopath who makes medicine from plants collected in the jungle. Activities will also include hikes to caves and waterfalls, through a jaguar reserve, and demonstrations of native cuisine, music and handcrafts. Being next to the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, we’ll take advantage of the opportunity to see the beauty beneath the waves on day out on the water and snorkeling.
Our Partner in Medina Bank
Cindy assists 7e in maintaining the lodge in Belize and coordinating logistics for our programs. She is a Belizian Born Mayan who is a proud mother and owner-operator of the Maya Green Forest Adventure lodge. She is Belize’s youngest registered Mayan female business owner.
These immigrant communities are trying to retain their Mayan cultural identity. Lack of government support, integration and political representation makes this a challenge. 7e is working with Maya communities in Southern Belize to improve the standard of living by addressing these primary issues. Our educational focus is on the cultural impacts of immigration to other countries.