I enrolled in this drumming class to learn more about local culture. Belize is split into three kinds of people. Well, four. You have the British, the Spanish and Garifuna. Then you have the msyticos. Mystico's are a mix of everything. I guess you also have the Maya. Either way, theres a lot going on there. This drumming class was specific to the Garifuna culture. Our year end trip was to Dangriga. A cultural town and center for Garifuna lifestyle.
As a class we went to see dancing, singing and drumming; and then we made our own drum.
I cannot Punta or Piranda for the life of me. I am a white girl trapped in a white girls body…but I tried. I really tried to dance. Fail.
The night was filled with dancing and drinking and classmates playing on the beach till early morning. We went to a bar and met strangers who showed us around-–they also advised us not to be walking around alone at night.
The next day was spent building drums. This was a difficult feat to overcome. The main reason being, all of us were hungover. The steps as I remember them:
- tree stump needs to be hollowed up with a saw
- tree stump needs to be trimmed around the edges very carefully, exposing the softness.
- Sand the shit of out the outside of the hollow stump
- Stain the stump.
- Pull fur off dead animal skin
- Comb it off with impossible tool to use
- Soak it in some kind of water
- Stretch leather over the stump
- Tie leather up
- Braid string
I’m pretty sure some of that is wrong…it was hard, and hot and I wasn’t paying attention. Let alone couldn’t understand why they would give me a saw. Like I know how to use one of those things…
Also…beware of sand flies. Invisible little monsters that attack you and make you itchy for days.
I have scars that will never leave me. They truly leave a lasting impression. My ankles will never be the same.
Peace and Love,