The Lure of the Rainforest

Very few people move to Belize with the intention of living in the rainforest.Like forests everywhere—those that still remain in regions of this country, the “forest primeval” of Europe, the Australian outback, and the ancient woods of Scandinavian countries—most people find them frightening.

In the Maya version, an ix tabi does not shed tears of blood. (Photo by

In the Maya version, an ix tabi does not shed tears of blood. (Photo by

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TwoWomenThere are many different cultural groups throughout Central America that consider themselves Maya.  They inhabit not only in modern Belize (when I lived there, the country was a British colony called British Honduras), but also Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras—the same countries that also contain the spectacular ruins of ancient Maya civilizations.

The Mopan and Kekchi Maya originated in Guatemala, and the stelae found among the ruins contain glyphs—symbols composed of bars, dots, and pictures—that’s close enough to contemporary Mopan Maya that specialists can translate them. (To see the glyphs that gave the Classic Maya site of Nim Li Punit its name, click here:  The name is Kekchi Maya for “Big Hat,” and after you take a look at the photo of the ruler’s headdress, you can see why.  While the site is in an area where Kekchi is spoken today, the original inhabitants spoke Cholan, another language altogether. Continue reading