Belize has a variety of Mennonite settlements spread throughout the country. Each of the communities vary in the degrees of strictness and live a slightly, to very different lifestyle, from the way of the 1900s to modern as in today’s technology and lifestyle. All have retained their unique dialect of an amalgamation of Dutch and/or German. Most Mennonite communities support their own rigorous school system and elect their own leaders.
One of the largest communities is the well known Spanish Lookout located on the north side of the Belize river in the Cayo District, approximately 10 miles from San Ignacio. Excellent business people, they are very prosperous providing much of the country (sometimes all) with an array of products and services. When building in Belize you will get acquainted with them very quickly. You can purchase almost everything you need from appliances, furniture, farm equipment, tools, hardware and accessories, electrical and plumbing supplies to groceries. One store, the Farmers Trading Centre (known as FTC), is of the same principle as superstore where you can get it all.
AERIAL VIEW OF SPANISH LOOKOUT
Photo copyright John Banman
This community also has many producing industries from dairy (cheeses, ice cream, milk…), to livestock, poultry, agricultural, beautiful wood furniture, all types of windows and doors which can be custom ordered.
The Spanish Lookout community is sweetly nicknamed the ‘Mechanites” as their lifestyle is very similar to ours in the fact that they use electricity, drive vehicles and use all mechanical equipments.
There are several Mennonite communities in Belize, two being at Barton Creek. Even those two differ enough in their way of life to be described separately. There is Lower Barton Creek, located nearer the Western Highway and Upper Barton Creek, located in the remote area of Barton Creek. This settlement can also be referred to as “Amish” as their lifestyle and beliefs are very similar; strict and conservative.
The population of the Upper Barton Creek Mennonite settlement is approximately 350, which includes Greenfield who together form one community. By the age of 40, most married couples generally have an average of 10 children per family.
They are quiet and peaceful people who live off the land. The Barton Creek community produces a large amount of the vegetables you find at the outdoor market in San Ignacio. Each family works very hard for the community and for themselves. They make their own clothes (the men in dark bib-trousers, long sleeved shirts, suspenders, and straw hats and the women in conservative pioneer style long dresses and bonnets), collect their food from the land, harvest honey, raise cattle, goats, pigs, and chickens for meat and eggs. Also produce butter and cream, make their own laundry soap and so much more. Canning is also very important as they do not have refrigeration. Monday is my day to visit, along with my dog Cluso, we do our weekly shopping for eggs and veggies. I also get the purest (totally organic) and most delicious butter, honey and peanut butter!
Their mode of transportation is still the horse & wagon.
There is nothing more soothing then laying in bed waking up slowly and hearing the horses & wagons go by… now this is the only kind of traffic that I find very pleasant! Sunday is their day of worship and the entire community gathers at the village church. On their way to church early in the morning, many of the families sing as they ride by and that is also a beautiful sound to wake up to!
1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
5 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
6 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
7 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
8 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But… Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panels Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2