Istmania Convention was held at the Radisson Hotel El Salvador and brought together Lions from Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. This year the convention was dedicated to the late Jose Mario Sandoval, a devoted and admirable Lion member from El Salvador. For many years now Belize has participated in this convention as invited guests and uses this event to demonstrate the spirit of Lionism in Belize.
While in San Salvador, the Belizean contingency represented the Lions of Belize Zone 59 with much pride as they participated in the parade of flags, cultural presentation, workshops, hospitality booth and gala evenings. Both the hospitality booth and cultural presentation caught the attention of the conventioneers as they managed to get a glimpse of the wonderful culture and tastes of Belize, including the rhythmic sounds of San Pedro's own talented musician Wil Nuñez.
Belize's goodwill ambassadors, Miss Belize Lions Zone 59 Queen Sherima Usher of Stann Creek and Miss San Pedro Lions Queen Debbie Ann Graniel, displayed fantastic diplomatic skill as they mingled with the crowd promoting "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret" and Lionism in Belize. In addition to scheduled programs, the Lions of Zone 59 visited El Salvador's scenic sites which included tours to the beach, handicraft markets and a tour of the city.
The Belize delegation spent an extra day in San Salvador as guests of Belize's ambassador to El Salvador, His Excellency Darwin Gabourel. The group was hosted to a grand reception at the residence of the ambassador, who was more than delighted to spend time with his fellow Belizeans.
The next Istmania Convention is scheduled to take place in Guatemala City, Guatemala in May 2003. The members of Belize Lions Zone 59 take this opportunity to thank all the businesses that donated supplies for the hospitality booth and other services to make this trip possible.