What is cultural heritage? It catches the sum total of the Belizean experience: food, music and dance, language, customs, religion and other matters. But not all of that is seen. The Gombay and Garifuna drums are made in a special process. Even the Creole language spoken around the country developed from the earliest pidgin spoken by the African slave ancestors who married and mingled with their European overlords. Facilitator for a two-day Cultural Heritage workshop at the House of Culture in Belize City, Phylicia Pelayo, told us why being proud of our culture is a financial boon to the country in the long run.
Phylicia Pelayo – Facilitator:
The purpose of these countrywide workshops on the theme “National Cultural Heritage” is to get the persons that are involved in cultures, so the cultural councils, the dance groups, the people who make traditional crafts, to get them familiarized with the 2003 Convention that covers Cultural heritage. The Convention deals with how we can protect Cultural Heritage, but it also opens funding to some of these cultural groups, and some of the work that we’ve been doing. But in order for them to access the funding, you have to first be aware of the different parameters of the Convention. So we really want them to become familiarized, and to see what they also have been doing, in terms of their own local initiatives.
The workshop continues Wednesday and is being held across the country.