August 29th, 2008

(no subject)

I'm no economist (though I do look nice in a bowtie), but Belize's economic condition is a MESS. Government is soooo corrupt here, and both parties seem to be extorting millions and millions EVERY year. On the local level, I don't really see much other than mayans, who are self-reliant in their subsistence farming, so they're not going hungry, but they have no INCOME, no savings, no direction financially, no chance for growth. This means children are less likely to continue school and get jobs and start making money. So everything is just stuck. When I come to Punta Gorda, the streets are full of hustlers, just tryin to make a quick buck from a tourist, some mayans make handicrafts and the like, and try to sell them on the streets.
This is not how to make money. There've been some gimmicks getting pushed around, tilapia farming, etc...I'm leery.
My belief is that the key to success here is organization. No belizeans want to work together for a common goal, unless they're paid for it immediately, or mandated by the government. The Mennonite community and the Chinese-Belizeans have an innate knack for organization and working communally, and it has led to their capitalizing on the whole economy of the country. And of course the Kriol population all balk and resent their presence and success, as some Americans have done (though not on such an extreme level) with the urban Orthodox and Hassidic Jews, but should just stop complaining and take a hint

Mennonites make things that everybody needs (dairy products and farm supply goods especially) and have become the only people who supply such things. They have immaculate production practices, are always very clean, friendly, and make quality stuff!

I'm thinking of bringing some of our village farmers on a fieldtrip to a mennonite community like spanish lookout in the Cayo district, and show them about safe pig farming and how they do so much work without electricity and the like.