Another bus, another culture, another language. Today we went by bus from the Garifuna town of Dangriga to the Mayan town of Maya Centre.
The glory days of the Mayan empire are long gone. They are no longer building pyramids or great cities. But the Mayan people have not disappeared. The decedents of the pyramid builders are still here. The population of Belize today is about 345,000. That includes Mayan, Garifuna, Creole, British, Mestizo and many other cultures. The Mayans make up about 10-12 percent of that population. One thousand years ago the population of what is now Belize was about one million people; all Mayan. They abandoned their great cities and went to live in little villages of thatched huts in the jungle.
Today, not too much has changed for the Maya. Most villages have electrically and the people have cars and television and cell phones. But some remote villages are still living the way they have lived for hundreds of years. We are staying for six days in a little Mayan village. We are here to see the birds and other animals in the surrounding jungle and also to learn about the Mayan culture.
As English is the official language of Belize, most people of all cultures learn to speak it. But for most it is a second language; one that unites the country so that Garifuna, Creole or Maya people can all talk to each other. There are three Mayan languages; Yucatec is spoken by the Maya in the Yucatan. Maya Mopan and Maya Kekchi are spoken in Belize and Guatemala. In the village of Maya Centre the people speak Maya Mopan.
More about Maya Centre later.