from a friend in the 'heartland'
I am fascinated that the coastal town Belizeans who know so little about their own country, should have so many false impressions.
The heartland of Belize stretches from Bull Run businesses on the Western Highway and Central Farm, which are up against the start of the foothill country of the Belize Alps and interior of the south. All the way through the center of the country almost to Corozal and the Mexican border in the North. Just past Blue Creek.
This heartland of Belize has the majority of the light manufacturing industries, the majority of the food processing industries, the majority of working and profitable farms, etc. The biggest centers are shopping areas called Spanish Lookout and Blue Creek, but to call these all Mennonite would be a misnomer. That is a catch all name of Colonial times that really doesn't fit much anymore. There are so many splinter group cult churches within the Mennonites that shun each others memberships, one couldn't call them one people much anymore.
The image your average Belizean has of this HEARTLAND of Belize is a group of crazy horse driven buggy farmers, surrounded by jungle, living by subsistance. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a dynamic heartland area of small farms, large farms and communities that are entwined through shared values of a sort in religion, but not in custom. Around 55,000 Belizean adults and most of the older crowd are now in the 70's, about 4000 of them. There are probably alone 22,000 white caucasian Belizeans, with blond hair and blue eyes just between the ages of 8 and 12 years old who are third generation Belizeans. Give it just 12 years more and the picture of Belize is going to change dramatically from this HEARTLAND crowd who are not interested in government, or civil service salaried jobs.
The new frontier is the Toledo District. Was listening to a Salvadoranean guy who now has three generations of his who are Belizeans, from the time of the UN refugee program from the civil war against the communists. He just got 25 acres of wonderful land in the Toledo District. He is extremely excited about it. One of his sons, I just met his girlfriend, is still fixing bicycles in Belmopan, but as an oil painting artist is meeting with commercial success as Commission orders for paintings are starting to slowly but steadily flow in. We've been fostering his talent for four years and he is getting real good. They already have land here in Hillview and Green Parrot Valley and also around the Belmopan area as the second generation seek their own futures elsewhere.
Belize is changing and it is the HEARTLAND OF BELIZE that is changing the nation and this process is going to be much more dynamic within 15 years. Belize will never be the same again!