Garifuna women making cassava bread, painting by Isiah Nicholas, plus photo from long ago with a description of the process of making the bread
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Monday November 19, 2018

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Garifuna family in PG making cassava bread in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy Jeremy A. Enriquez.


Historical image of Garifuna women beginning the process of making cassava bread - iburahani: grated cassava packed into a ruguma and hung up. The liquid which drips out is used to make dumari or ginuti. After 15 minutes the ruguma is emptied and filled again. The squeezed meal, siboa, is left out to dry overnight. The Garifuna woman at the center of this picture is stretching the ruguma tightly from where it hangs on a tree as she sits on the wood that is inserted at its end to strain the grated cassava. This is one of the steps in making cassava bread. Not sure where this picture was taken but it shows a similar practice that used to more commonly occur in PG, Barranco, Dangriga, Hopkins, and other Garifuna communities. The presence of the other women reminds that cassava bread making was a communal practice through every step of the process. Back in the days, cassava bread making was also brought women together for socializing. Photo courtesy of: Mrs. Simeona Zuniga, curator of the Darina Garifuna Museum in Libertad Village.


Each step in the production of Garifuna cassava bread (ereba) is shown in this photo collage done in 1948. Photo credit: Jesuit Archives.


Cassava root being prepared into a cracker in Hopkins Village, 1987. Photo by Peter Bylen.


Picture of ereba (cassava bread) taken around the 1920s shows how it was way back then as it is today. For centuries that’s how it was - in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be, if it’s decline in production and consumption does not continue. Photo courtesy Jeremy A. Enriquez.

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Garifuna women making cassava bread, painting by Isiah Nicholas, plus photo from long ago with a description of the process of making the bread

The entire staff of the Museum of Belize wishes everyone a Happy and Joyous Garifuna Settlement Day!

Above is one of two of our newly acquired paintings in honor of Garifuna Settlement Day done by Belizean Artist Isiah Nicholas.This cultural piece highlights the traditional process of Cassava Bread making, one of many signature customs within the Garifuna community.Lidan Ñei Úarani Awanseruni…Mabuleida Waméi. Progress Lies in Unity...Always Remember.

Cordelia C. Casimiro: I can attest to the fact that cassava making was a communal activity. Women would come by to assist in the grating. Some would even bring their own graters. Even the peeling of the cassava, if its a lot it requires as much assistance to make it less cumbersome. My mom used to make cassava in the late 70's and 80's. The product is very healthy and long lasting. It can be kept for months and will not spoil or loose its taste.

Genevieve Flores: I remember those days, my grandmother got us our own bowl and grate made my granduncle use to make them we enjoyed getting involved in cassava bread making especially the songs had certain meaning

Delia Sentino: I recall my mom and my aunt Anselma used to make cassava and we sit and wait for my mom to cut off the edge of the cassava so we can have it with condensed milk.

Mirtha Noralez: An attestment to the hardwork that Garinagu undertake to feed themselves. You will notice the children sitting an observing, while serving as weights to drain the starch( darara) from the pulp ( sibeeba) besides waiting for the edges cut off the bread when it is'almost done baking. It is delicious straight or made into porridge with water and condensed milk.

Beverly Carla Usher: In 1955 my neighbor, who was like an auntie to me, had a small grater made for me. They use to include me in the whole process. The joke among them was I was so small and skinny that when I sat on the stick to drain, nothing came out of the oala. So they had to put the big stone so I would not feel too bad.

See the labor intensive process of cassava bread making with the ladies of Sabals Cassava Farm, Sarawee Village, Stann Creek District.

Painting by Isiah Nicholas

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