Friday, May 10, 2013

Dangriga is Misunderstood

Yesterday, I touched briefly on my neighbor kids. I happen to think I have moved next door to the best kids in Belize. I have read other's blogs. I have seen the not-so-flattering reviews of my new hometown, Dangriga. People have said that it is not as appealing as Hopkins or Placencia. Perhaps I must agree. There is certainly a different flavor here. We don't have froo froo coffee houses. We don't have peddlers selling seashell necklaces. We don't have overpriced hotel rooms.

What we DO HAVE here in Dangriga, is reality. We have a great road in and out. We have some of the best selections in our supermarkets. We have the freshest fish in Belize. We have our people. The people of Dangriga are true Belizeans. Friendly and helpful, and open to sharing the little that they have. Take my neighbor boys for example.... I don't know what their parents do for a living as it is a Spanish speaking family. (I'm doing my online classes faithfully, but I'm afraid my age is catching up to me...I pretty well suck at this learning a second language. I'm still plugging away at it though...sigh.) But even with the communication barrier, I can tell that the boy's mother is a gem! She is friendly and takes EXCELLENT care of her boys! She is teaching them the morals we all hope our children grow into. Johnni is her 12 year old son. He rakes my driveway without being asked, and locates my blown away laundry when my fumbling new self leaves it on the line and the wind whips up! Johnni does his school work and is the best in the family at speaking English. His younger brother, Diyer, is learning English at the school, but he has been raised speaking Spanish. By virtue of his age and grade, he is not as fluent in English as Johnni.

Yesterday evening, Johnni and Diyer stopped up to ask me if they could look up a water cycle chart on my Internet. I was pleased to see the little guys! It seems as though I should have something to give to them.... after all, I am the expat grown up lady. But in reality, no matter what I try to give them, they are always giving me more! They give me little chores, as I said. But they also give me insight. They give me friendship. They give me their time. They give me little hugs. <3 be able to give them a few minutes of my computer is really a blessing! We searched for images of the water table Johnni needed. I asked him if he knew how to select one by clicking it. He said he had not done it before, so I showed him. He looked through several and then picked a chart he liked. He sat at the kitchen table and copied it for his poster for school. He did an excellent job. I was reminded of all the posters and projects that I had completed for my own children. I was reminded of the assignments turned in for grading that were clearly not done by a student. I was filled with pride for Johnni as HE did all the work himself! He had a pouch full of markers to color his poster, but halfway through the assignment, his cousin knocked to offer Johnni use of HIS markers. The cousin, Bieri, is a 13 year old and was a clean cut and polite as any man I know. The kids have an air of maturity, yet the adults retain their childlike curiosity...THESE are my Dangriga neighbors.

So...all you trip advisers, and lonely planet reviewers... Keep in mind, Dangriga doesn't have fancy resorts and five star restaurants. Dangriga has the best REAL Belize experience. Try the stewed chicken from the girl at the entrance to the market. Enjoy a heap of fried rice at the Rainbow on Commerce Drive. Find your favorite. Make a friend. Enjoy the local flavor. There is more in Dangriga than meets the eye.

 Johnni (12) and Diyer (7)
Johnni (12), Bieri (13) and Diyer (7)


  1. Melanie - I remember your post on Belize Forums and the snarky responses. Found the link for your blog from today's post. Went back to Feb and read them all to today. I just started the book packing today for my move in a few months. Loving what I'm reading. I'm about to start my blog as well. If you get a chance look up Debbie Jones in Dangriga. She lives down the road from the Texaco station that's on the highway before town. I took her a couple of things she asked for when I came to town in January of '12. I think she's in real estate now (isn't everyone?!). Nice lady. I'm enjoying the picture you're painting of Dangriga. I have a funny story to tell about our trip to Dangriga...think I'll wait to tell it on my blog.

  2. When you get your blog started, please send me a note or something, so that I can start reading it...and following it! I would love to meet your friend, Debbie. Maybe you could shoot me an email to melaniekaycampbell@gmail and we can communicate more personally? I look forward to hearing from you.