(Reproduced with the permission of Rony Figueroa)
Thanks to the internet, the different ethnic groups are able to come together as one by only logging into their computers. A website can be used as a launching pad to keep a community together. It can be used to inform and dispel the doubts and ignorance that some of us have in regards to people who we know little about like the Garifuna.
This is how the following event has been put together without recurring to costly and messy red tape. I am talking about the big summit, meeting or forum however you want to call it which will be held at Maabatuwa Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
I can’t wait to partake in the upcoming Garifuna Community Forum LA 2005. The tantalizing idea of having all of these talented people come together for one very important and crucial event to take place on the 16 of April, 2005. I am referring to the cream of the crop, the “leche de coco”, artists, musicians, writers, doctors, entrepreneurs, executives and CEO’s and put simply the people concerned about their culture.
As I sit at home while flipping through the virtual pages on the internet, I can’t help noticing the explosion on articles and people that are coming out of the woods to communicate through the different Garifuna websites. The interest that has grown and developed about the Garifuna websites, has taken off like a boat in the horizon. People have learned a new way to communicate with one another cheaply and effectively. Our children no longer lack the access to the best and abundant information on their favorite, unusual and mysterious subjects. The websites that feature Garifuna culture, music and historical information, have began to explode into the cyber world.
As a matter of fact, I think that we all should have a website of our own. There is room for everybody to publish and disseminate information through the web about each one’s peculiar and individual qualities and talent. There is for example the more commercialized site garinet.com that features not only written articles about Garifuna people, places and things but also about music, videos, DVD’s, photo galleries, arts & crafts and other gadgets for sale. Garinet.com is one of the leading websites that have revolutionized the meaning of Garifuna World on the net. Are you looking for a flag or how about a documentary about Garifuna? Go to http://www.garinet.com/.
On the other hand, Labuga.com a cultural and purely informative website that caters to the heart and soul of the Garifuna people at no cost. You can post your announcements, shot-outs and social events for free. You can listen to Ciego’s Heaven Punta Rock radio or merely browse through the pictures posted by Garinagu from all over the place in the Gallery section. Is your website lost in cyber space where nobody can find it? Then link it up at labuga.com. List your family members’ birthday greeting in the Birthday section.
Are you planning a trip to La Buga – Livingston and don’t know where to stay? Go and visit this most colorful website with the flavor of Guatemala at http://www.labuga.com/
Then, we encounter the more serious and traditional website like Seinebight.com. This site specializes in grass roots information about the people and events that affect the people of Belize’s Seine Bight village. There, you would find history, cultural information as well as the root of the Garifuna people that settled in that region. Want information of traditional Garifuna medicine? Then, you will find it at http://www.seinebight.com/. How about researching the Family Tree? Learn more about the history and the traditional ways of the people by reading the articles by Mr. Clifford Palacio. Photos, hotel listings, garifuna lessons, all of these things are found in this unique and interesting website.
I have come to find out more about Garifuna from Honduras through a controversial website that has a fascinating written content on their arrival from Saint Vincent to the actual settlements along the cost of Honduras. I truly challenge you to read, understand and perhaps discuss its contents with your parents or elderly because it certainly picks your mind. I have included the link to this site but I warn you; get a Spanish speaking person to help you translate it because the translation featured by the search engine is confusing and not accurate:
From an artistic point of view, I recommend you visit http://www.wadigidigi.com/. This website is Felene Cayetano’s creation. She will navigate you through her poetry and artistic approach to Garifuna culture. There you could read her biography, leave your greeting on the guestbook, check out and purchase a book published by herself. She writes, “On the eve of this new year, the eve of my return to my birth country after over a decade, I am left questioning my identity. Like so many other immigrants who go to a new country as children and return to their birth countries as adults, I harbor cultural insecurities”.
These are some of the most influential websites that I have surfed during my research for this article. These sites are only 5 of the many more that are out there. I encourage you to do your own research and visit each one of them for the sake of cultural awareness.
The diversity that these websites represent is just a token of proof for the uniqueness and creativity of individuals that strive for a better tomorrow for the Garifuna people. Survival through education is the call of action.
If you have any questions, comments or rebuttals, please feel free to contact me at: