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Homeless folks, poverty and beggars?

Posted By: CFI

Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 10:04 AM

My fiance just told me she doesn't want to go to Belize cause a friend of hers went there on a mission trip once (who knows what part) and said that its a terribly impoverished country that is full of beggars, HUGE bugs and depression. She's got it in her head that the whole country is like this, including AC, and she doesn't want to be "depressed looking at a bunch of poor people whom her heart will bleed for" during our honeymoon. She would rather have Corporate Cancun cause glass and steel are reassuring to her! Neither of us have left the states so we have zero experience with other countries. Are there beggars around AC? At Belize Int'l airport? Is it depressing? Nobody's said anything about it from what I've read. Is it a non-issue? Can anybody give me ammo to convince her otherwise? smile Thanks.
Posted By: dbdoberman

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 11:07 AM

Will work for belikins
Posted By: Nick Barton

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 12:41 PM

The only depression I have experienced on AC was when the fridge was empty of Belikin!
Posted By: toad

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 01:30 PM

ask dat's wife
Posted By: Sandy C

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 02:38 PM

We do not consider Belize impoverished or depressing. The only beggars we have seen were in Belize City and we encountered just a few of them; they appeared to be drunks or addicts, not people in need of food due to poverty. AC is upscale compared to many parts of Belize. Although many people born and raised on the island live in small (by US standards), wooden houses, they are not impoverished - that is local lifestyle. The locals we have met and interacted with over the years are happy, content, good hearted and low stressed. Belize is a rural country with lower GDP than developed countries which thus translates to less infrastructure and what sociologists call "lower standard of living." In many cases, the people of Belize must work hard to pay for necessities and their material lifestyle frequently is much less than many in the US. But, in our opinion, the country and the people are interesting and delightful. Our observations are influenced by travel in countries in southeastern Asia where we saw true poverty with people living in cardboard boxes along the road who hoped to find food for their next meal. The unpleasant bugs we see are small - mosquitoes and sand flies. But they are not present all the time and you can take precautions against them. The country is the tropics, though, and there is more buggy wildlife. All this said, we are not trying to influence your honeymoon choice, just providing opinions based on your questions. Happy trip and honeymoon wherever you go!
Posted By: Johnboy

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 02:49 PM

CFI,
I see you are from California(San Diego) ...I don't know how it is out there But in Dallas There are beggars on nearly every corner...I saw very few in Belize & even less in AC....The people of AC may be less fortunate than a lot of others , But they seem to be more "proud", if you know what I mean.....Go & enjoy Your honeymoon like many others have...Just my honest opinion!!!! smile wink
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 03:36 PM

One going to Ambergris will be blessed and renewed, from experiencing the lovely people, beautiful blue caribbean water, and oh yes swimming with those spiritual fish, rays and sharks.
Much mental freedom while visiting.
Hey the food and drinks are the best, no matter what.
Bugs, not a problem, use protection.
Posted By: RI Laura

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 04:07 PM

Like others have said, it is more about simplified living, not poverty, in AC. I find that the island reminds me of what is important everytime I've visited.

They don't have alot of materialistic items, but when you see the kids walking hand in hand down the street at lunch time in their cute uniforms... and watch families playing at the shoreline at dusk... or watch an older woman hanging laundry out to dry while her family is at work... or catch a young teenage couple stealing a kiss under a palm tree after school... it makes you smile.

Look for the good no matter where you go, and you will find it. And, personally I do think you will find alot of wonderful things and people to see if you visit AC. One of the things I always mention as a positive about AC is how welcoming and friendly the people are.

Hope this helps! Enjoy your honeymoon... wherever it takes you! smile - Laura
Posted By: JohnnyK

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 05:17 PM

CFI,

AC is a perfect choice for a honeymoon, if you do choose to decide AC for your location. Mexico, and Cancun specifically, does not even come close to the serenity and friendliness you experience on AC. AC is much cleaner than Cancun as well!

Having travelled extensively around the globe, I find AC to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. (I will be returning in a couple weeks!)

As most people have stated already on this board, AC has a simplified style of living. You may however experince more panhandling in Belize City. But, on AC, I didn't encounter any panhandling or begging. Even the merchants who ask you to buy their products respect your "personal space" once you say you're not interested. Trust me, AC doesn't even come close to vagrants in places such as NYC, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Fran, Boston, and/or Chi-town. Compared to those cities, speaking strictly based on homelessness, AC is the best place to go! Heck, AC is the best place to go regardless! laugh

Anyway, do some research. From my standpoint, I would marry in AC AND have a honeymoon there!!! laugh wink smile cool

Hope this helps ya a bit...
Cheers. JohnnyK.
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 05:34 PM

Belize is virtually middle class compared with most of the rest of Central America. If you want to see poverty, visit Honduras, Nicaragua or parts of Guatemala. In rural areas especially Belizeans do not have a lot of money, but Belizeans by and large live well compared with the majority of the world's population outside the first world.

There are some bums and street hustlers in Belize City (not at the airports), but in most other areas it is rare to see anyone bumming, and you don't have the kind of aggressive higglers you find in much of Mexico or in poor areas of the Caribbean Basin such as the Dominican Republic or Jamaica.

Ambergris Caye has the highest standard of living in Belize. Not a few native Sanpedranos are far wealthier than the average tourist to Ambergris Caye.

I think your fiance has been misinformed.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 05:36 PM

Belize is virtually middle class compared with most of the rest of Central America. If you want to see poverty, visit Honduras, Nicaragua or parts of Guatemala. In rural areas especially Belizeans do not have a lot of money, but Belizeans by and large live well compared with the majority of the world's population outside the first world.

There are some bums and street hustlers in Belize City (not at the airports), but in most other areas it is rare to see anyone bumming, and you don't have the kind of aggressive higglers you find in much of Mexico or in poor areas of the Caribbean Basin such as the Dominican Republic or Jamaica.

Ambergris Caye has the highest standard of living in Belize. Not a few native Sanpedranos are far wealthier than the average tourist to Ambergris Caye.

I think your fiance has been misinformed.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: Richard Chambers

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/03/03 05:37 PM

During my first visit to Belize in 2000 we traveled the mainland by car and spent every nite in a different city/town.This comprized the first week there.
All we saw were very healthy happy children!The only encounter with "begging" was from a well fed looking 6-7 year old looking for small change in front of the main grocery store in BC.
None of that existed in AC for the next 8 days.
I don't know if you've ever been to Mexico, but that is no comparison to Belize! All i ever saw there was plenty of "begging" by children and adults.
The closest to begging by adults on AC was a local bummin Belikin! But so did my travelin companions !!
It's a wonderful place to visit with your eyes wide open..........Richard
Posted By: Sam Scuba

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/04/03 03:59 AM

You'll probably want to rule out San Francisco for a honeymoon because it's full of unemployed computer programmers (Silicon Valley) and homeless people (Union Square) who are constantly begging for money. :-)

On the other hand, I was never approached for money on AC. The people were friendly and helpful. I did notice lots of stray pets, though, and I plan to bring a box of Friskies with me next trip! If you haven't vacationed outside the U.S. before, there is some adjustment to the standards of other countries. The hotels are clean and comfortable, but it's unlikely that any of them meet the aesthetic standards of U.S. hotels. It's just a different way of life that many of us come to appreciate once we adjust.
Posted By: Richard Chambers

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/04/03 05:22 AM

Sam & Lan,
Well said!
Richard
Posted By: KathyMLT

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/04/03 06:09 AM

I have been to other islands and countries and I think that "poverty" is in the eye of the beholder. I've seen some not so great looking living conditions in Jamaica and I've seen some building in Belize that didn't look that great from the outside but I wouldn't say that what I've seen in Belize is poverty and especially not on AC. Perhaps some of the people don't have alot of materialistic things but they some things that alot of people here don't have and that is respect, kindness and honesty. Yes there are a few bad apples in the barrel but the Belizean people are by far the "wealthiest" people I've ever met. Your fiance will miss alot by allowing herself to fall into the trap of not seeing things for herself. Perhaps her friend had a bad trip and has exaggerated things a bit, perhaps her friend's perspective is entirely different from others.......As for bugs, the worse I've run into are mosquitos and they were near as big as the ones in Alaska. I truly believe in taking into account what some people say about a place, however you have to keep an open mind and you have to remember that two people can be on the exact same trip and things can happen (rain,fallind down in slippery caves, getting bitten by bugs) and one can say they had the most horrible time in their life and the other can say it was one of the best.
Posted By: o jackie

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/04/03 11:53 AM

That is the main thing to remember an open mind.

What exactly is poverty? Someone not having what we have or what we think they should have by our standards.

As far as AC goes, Kathy is right. They are the wealthiest people I have ever met. They have alot of pride and alot of heart. Sometimes,I find myself jealous of that, sure I might have more then some,material wise,but are we happy with all that.

Also, like Kathy said, two people could have the worst vacation in someones elses mind , anything and everything possibly could go wrong, but in turn, they could say it was the best vacation of there life. Like me!!! laugh
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/04/03 09:51 PM

On my very first trip to Belize a local said this to me: Belizeans may have no money, but we are not poor. Poor is a state of mind.
Posted By: mayatravel

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/04/03 10:49 PM

There's a TV antenna on nearly every roof, even if the outside of the wooden house looks like it hasn't been painted since Happy Days was a hit. Rain and sun take their toll on paint. This is a middle class country and the disparities are not that great. I've never heard of things such as malnutrition and we're doing our very best to provide health care to all. It ain't the Caymans, but we certainly don't have the miseries of poverty.
Posted By: trina

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 12:10 AM

Belize looks like Beverly Hills compared to Guatemala. But let's not confuse money with happiness. Some of the happiest people I ever met were in Belize,,,,,and also in Bali, interestingly, another "poor" country. Warm, laughing, friendly. And some of the most "depressed' folks I met have had nice cars and houses. Go figure confused
Posted By: KathyMLT

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 12:19 AM

You know I was thinking more about this and it causes me to remember a friend of mine who was very unhappily married. When I asked him why he just didn't get a divorce he told me that he would lose everything (house,computer, stuff like that) in the process. So I pondered this and asked him then if he cared more about 'things' than happiness. I haven't seen him for some time but I'm sure to this day he still chooses the "things". That is very sad to me.
Posted By: KBG

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 01:12 AM

Just think about it,
If you moved to San Pedro, you probably would not have two cars, car insurance, lawn, lawn mower or lawn care service, not a swimming pool and a pool service, probably would rent and not own a home, not have a mortgage, house maintenance, lots less clothes, but you would definitely not be poor. Would you trade all your "Worldy Possessions" for the hapiness that most people on San Pedro have????? Think about it.KBG :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
Posted By: o jackie

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 01:26 AM

IN A HEARTBEAT!!! wink
Posted By: klcman

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 02:38 AM

Thank God it isn't the Caymans where the island loclas are so "rich" that any, and I mean virtually ANY of the "working class" have to be imported from other islands because "working" is beneath them. confused
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 02:48 AM

KBG has it almost right:"if you moved to San Pedro, you probably would not have two cars, car insurance,lawn, lawn mower or lawn care service, not a swimming pool and a pool service,probably would rent and not own a home, not have a mortgage, house maintenance,lots less clothes,"
except that you might well own your house free and clear and you and your extended family probably own a number of vacant properties on the island.
Posted By: KathyMLT

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 05:48 AM

I definately would take the "riches" of the Belizeans over what I have now in a New York minute. Can't drive two cars at once anyway (and only own one)actually the bank still owns it and I actually prefer the golf cart or bicycle anyway, never have owned a house and probably never will, happier reading a book than watching tv, wouldn't need a pool would have the Caribbean Sea, and as for less clothes just hang out at Coconuts swimming pool ; )
Posted By: Axeman

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 06:14 AM

One of the first thing I noticed in Belize city was the LACK of people begging. I've traveled extensively and have found Belize to be pretty much free of all that. Even if one of them did ask me, I would most likely give them something. because they probably really need the money.
Most are fairly hard workers and very proud people.
Not the false pride you see in the US.
I have never felt so welcome and excepted.

If I were to pick a place to marry..AC would be heaven. I'm biased tho..I've been there...
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 01:02 PM

CFI: I have been to Cancun and AC several times and would pick AC without a doubt. Here is why: Cancun is expensive, commercial and the shopping sucks. AC is laid back, friendly, great food, and many other things. I never saw any beggars or homeless. If they are there, they didn't bother me. Plus, Cancun scared me to walk around at night.
Posted By: o jackie

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 01:32 PM

I agree with you LaurieMar!! They could not give me a free trip to United States of Cancun. AC is by far the best, people,food,service and stress free Belizean time.

Jackie
Posted By: BankerWoman

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 09:53 PM

The point here may be that your fiance has an expectation about Belize that may or may not be correct according to whatever her perception of "poverty" is. I'll probably get my post zapped for this but yes, there are places on AC where the native San Pedranos live in a manner that she may sense as poverty-stricken. There are houses that are little more than shacks and some don't have running water or the kinds of amenities most of us are accustomed to. There are occasionally children on the beaches and the streets that ask for money. We experienced it several times in our ten day stay. There are large numbers of uncared for dogs and cats which, as an animal lover, broke my heart on a daily basis. While some of us view this as "real" and interesting and an honest view of a very honest and real people and beautiful place, others - perhaps your fiance - will not be happy.

This is your honeymoon, your time to both be happy. Once in a lifetime (we hope!) Find a place where both of you will have a wonderful anticipation of visiting as part of your upcoming wedding (hopefully with less glass and steel than she seems to need). Save AC and Belize for a time where you feel the need to have an adventure and a learning experience. Once you have been to AC, you will not forget it.
Posted By: evening

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/05/03 10:33 PM

Haven't been to AC yet, but I can guarantee you will get hassled a lot more by timeshare salespeople in Cancun than the "street people" in any developing country I've ever visited. Almost every tourist information booth, or tour sales office is really a timeshare sales office - and if your fiance likes Cancun, you'll return $25k+ poorer! The hassle in the stores and the crafts markets is pretty intense too.

I'd rather stay in a unairconditioned hut on the beach in Tulum than any free room in any Cancun hotel (with the exception of the Ritz Carlton) - including having to get up at 3am to make the drive back to Cancun for the 7am Continental flight!
Posted By: CFI

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/06/03 02:52 AM

Thanks everybody! I just sent this link to her. I'll let you all know if she changes her mind about AC! wink Thanks for all your comments and honesty. I'm looking forward to visiting AC sometime in the future, even if it's not going to be in August. smile
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/06/03 03:13 AM

I'm sorry...but there is NO comparison AC/Cancun...I've been both places RECENTLY....and it's DIFFERENT.......Am i being "blonde" again???? C
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/06/03 04:21 AM

That's right - there is no comparison. However, I think there are beautiful spots to stay on the Yucatan peninsula, if one is stuck on going to the Mexican Caribbean. Even Isla de Mujeres is better than Cancun. I used to love Cozumel 15 years ago and went there several times, but since I discovered AC, have not been back!
Posted By: Marie

Re: Homeless folks, poverty and beggars? - 03/09/03 04:35 AM

On one of our early trips to Belize, I was outside my favortie Paradise Resort Hotel taking sunrise pictures. Several men passed by on their way to work. Each one said, "Good morning, Mum". I responded in kind, and added, "beautiful day, isn't it". By about the fifth man I chuckled and said, "But I guess they all are". His answer was, "Yes Mum, it only we who make them otherwise". So true of the folks in Belize, they make the days good for all. Please don't go to Cancun, you will hate it. Belize is the kindest place. Trust me, you will love it. I take off every morning for a sunrise walk, for years now, and never have been pestered or the least worried. Its wonderfully safe and nice. Also note how rare it is to hear a child cry. They are just loved to pieces there. Please give it a try. Marie
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