Saturday, March 26, 2011

Since 1) Kevin wasn't able to send pictures and 2) I hate to disappoint my many readers by letting another week pass without a post, I thought I would do so more research.

First, let's consider the ethnic makeup of Belize (according to our good friends at Wikipedia).

Sorry I didn't have time to make the graph more readable.

You, like I, might find it interesting that Mennonites are considered an ethnic group.

Most Belizeans are of mixed descent.

The largest group, Mestizo, is a mix of Mayan and European descent. Here is a picture of a Mestizo truck driver.

The next largest group, Kriol, is made up of descendants of English or Scottish lumber workers and their African slaves. Here we have a picture of a Kriol young man.

The next largest group of mixed race ancestry, are the Garufinas. Their ancestors were Africans and American Indians (Mayan, I would guess). Here is a picture of a Garufina girl.

Now we will consider the languages of Belize. I have no pictures to go with this - just fun facts.

  • English is the only official language of Belize due to being a former British colony. It is the main language used in government and education.
  • 37% of Belizeans consider their primary language to be Kriol, an English-based Creole of words and syntax from various African languages and other languages (Miskito, Caliche). It is also a second or third language for another 40% of the multilingual country.
  • To speak Kriol is synonymous with being Belizean. Kriol shares similarities with many Caribbean English Creoles as far as phonology and pronunciations are concerned.
  • Many of its words and structures are both lexically and phonologically similar to English, its superstrate language. Because it is English-based, all Kriol speakers can understand English.
In a post several weeks ago, I made a naive comment about how all of the companionships in Belize contained one companion native to Central America and one from North America. I suggested it was inspired by, among other things, a commitment to diversity. While that may play a part, the following chart shows why it is needed.

English & Spanish Language Proficiency


Speaks Very Well

Speaks Some










If my research hasn't been edifying enough for you, I will conclude with an excerpt from Kevin's last email.

"I forgot to mention that I had been asking the assistants to find out how my convert Jose Virigilio from Suncuan is doing and they told me that he is the ward mission leader and is doing or has sent his mission papers. It is truly one of the greatest joys to hear that one of your converts is progressing and growing in the gospel. Like it says in 1Tess. 2:19-20. 'For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.' I know that Christ lives and that He loves us. I know that He is our Savior. I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration."


  1. It took me a while to understand if the language chart was talking about missionaries or not. It's about the people in Beliz, right?

  2. Yes, it is about the people in Belize. I would hope the missionaries had higher percentages for each language.