Another View of Belize

There is a lot of buzz on the internet now about all the problems Belize is currently having with crime and corruption. A lot of people who have retired or moved to Belize are now disillusioned with all the hype that they encountered prior to their decision to move there.

I even experienced this myself, as well as others I have met recently. Here is a woman’s take on her experiences in Belize. I met this woman in Corozal five or six years ago when she was there. So today I am going to share an article she recently posted.

“Hello, My name is Misty and I’m 33 years old. I lived in northern and western Belize for the better part of 4 years over a 7 year span. I’ve also lived and traveled extensively through both the East and West coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras in a total of nearly a decade of living outside the US (where I am living temporarily). The nice things about Belize are covered in most travel literature and propaganda, but truth be told I’ve had three good friends brutally murdered there since 2011 and I was attacked in 2014. One was a British art teacher in her early 50’s who was living and teaching in Orange Walk. She was found tied and sexually assaulted with her throat cut. The next was a Canadian woman living in Consejo (near Corozal). She was stabbed in a home invasion and robbery. The most recent was a Canadian friend and colleague named Matthiew. He had done more than any non-Belizean for the film industry of Belize and was well known and widely respected. His death was shocking to everyone. He was stabbed 14 times just outside his home near Cayo and found two days later. His house, which was full of video and camera equipment, was ransacked. Nothing was stolen. In June of 2014 a local man that I knew climbed in my window in a hotel I was living at in Cayo and attempted to strangle me. I kicked him off and ran. He stole all the money out of my room as well as my phone and a camping knife. He was later arrested in Placencia and charged. They let him go and I saw him in the street not long afterward. He was to stand trial, but due to a family emergency I had to leave the country before the trial date and it was canceled. Had I gone through with a testimony it would have been dangerous for me to remain in town as there would have been friends from his village who disagreed with my actions.

Belize has drawn me back again and again. I live life on different terms than many and actually plan on returning in late 2015, as I still have some very good friends, both local and from a variety of countries and all of my camping gear, a bicycle, etc is there. The people who live there and thrive are the ones looking for what the brochures aren’t selling. Belize is the wild west compared to Mexico and Guatemala. I even travelled to what are considered dangerous jungles/small towns in Honduras with no qualms. But, Belize has given me pause. If you are looking for the land of misfit toys, you’ve found your home. That is one of the best terms I’ve heard from the outsiders who have found a home there. If you want to live in, buy property in, or have a business in Belize you will encounter exceptionally corrupt bureaucracy. EVERYTHING takes a longer time than they say it will and there is no such thing as “on time.” You must embrace the idea of having no schedule. I guarantee it will make you squint and mouth the word “Why?” It is still a very young developing country. You will encounter intense poverty, a dog eradication program that poisons stray dogs as a means of population control (there are dead dogs in the streets after eradications), and the desperation that poverty brings – theft, begging, drugs, blatant lack of middle class, and no matter what background you come from: You will be seen as rich because you are from another country and it will be true. If you have the means to travel internationally (I even lived in a tent for a time), you are much better off than most of the people you meet. Expat groups seem to feel safety in numbers, but I’ve mostly avoided that scene (though I have many good acquaintances within those groups) and can’t say anything about it either way.

If you choose to accept what comes on the road less traveled, you will find a culture that is beyond unique. There is nothing else like it. It is, indeed, as rugged and beautiful as the commercials, but you’ll have to seek it out. I’ve been taken in by kind parents of children I worked with, done tons of charity and tourism work, and had the most amazing and intense adventures of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If you want to know what it is like, don’t take it lightly. If you want to move there visit for at least a month at a time during different seasons. Explore different regions and seek out other outsiders who are living there. Get real with yourself. Is this what you want? Don’t rush into anything.

If I was to choose a place to retire or reside in relative comfort and ease, it would be either some coast of Mexico or the West coast of Guatemala. Don’t be afraid of Spanish and more people than you might expect can speak English. Speaking English is one of the niches that Belize caters to, but you’ll have to choose your barriers. Traveling is not necessarily easy, it’s an experience. As is expatriating from wherever you live.

I hope that this can help someone out there. Forget commercials and brochures. Go. Experience. Decide for yourself.”

You can read about Matthiew at: http://www.ctvnews.ca/…/canadian-filmmaker-killed-in-belize…

You can read about Patty at:http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/92007

And you can read what I wrote about Isis at:http://gypsyroadsalwayshome.blogspot.com/…/…/is-it-safe.html
Also her obituary, that of a woman who had travelled to over 70 countries teaching and learning is at: http://www.independent.co.uk/…/isis-nassar-artist-who-worke…

Safe travels!

Misty Dawn MoonQueen's photo.
'Carrying a machete and borrowed 9mm.'
Misty Dawn MoonQueen's photo.
Misty Dawn MoonQueen's photo.
Source: Misty Dawn O’Loughlin Bellingham, Washington
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

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