Back in Belize

belize sign

After being gone for a year, I’m back home. My final capstone project is all that remains for me to complete my Master’s Degree.  I will be completing this project in my beautiful country, Belize.

The Belize Social Investment Fund (SIF) is implementing a sustainable tourism engagement project in Gracie Rock Village.  One of the overall objectives of the project is to engage the community in tourism and provide income generating opportunities for village residents.  The project is aimed at improving the socioeconomic development of the village.  This community engagement project involves several activities including capacity and skills training. I am working with the SIF and the Belize Tourism Board in developing and implementing a tour guide training program for the village residents.

I had the opportunity to visit the community and do a preliminary assessment.  I passed the junction to the entrance of the village numerous times before but didn’t go into the community until now.  The community is located a few miles from the George Price Highway and hidden behind a limestone ridge.

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Village is located behind these hills
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Road to Gracie Rock

I was taken on a tour of the village by a field officer from the SIF. This gave me an opportunity to see the village and identify any opportunities which  can be developed for sustainable tourism activities, especially guided tours by villagers.  The area is surrounded by lush broad-leaf forests.  I saw several birds on this trip and managed to get a few good photos.  The Sibun River passes through the village and there is a small suspension bridge for villagers to walk across. The photos of the birds and bridge are posted below.  See if you can identify the birds.

crimson tanager

oriole

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Suspension bridge at Gracie Rock

 

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View from across the river

These photos were taken before hurricane Earl passed through Belize earlier this month.  I understand that the river flooded and washed away the bridge.  I’ll revisit the village and see the damage caused by the hurricane.

I’m looking forward to working with the village of Gracie Rock, the SIF and the BTB.  I know that I will be able to contribute to this Sustainable Tourism Project and impact the lives of these residents.

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