Black and White in Belize

It is my second day in Belize. The sun is relentless, beating down on my head all day long. The month of September is supposed to be the peak of the rainy season but there is no rain at all. It feels unusually hot because of high humidity and lack of wind. The locals say that the hurricanes in the Atlantic have sucked up all the energy from the ocean, that’s why there is no wind blowing right now which is causing the temperatures to rise. I think, maybe the vice versa is true—the heat is causing the hurricanes in the Atlantic right now.

Anyways, after having failed to get a sleep inside the tent on my first day in Belize I am determined to get a room with a fan for tonight. I cycle for several hours and reach a sleepy village of Sandhill located at the intersection of Northern Highway with old Northern Highway. There isn’t any hotel here so I ask around and happen to meet Damion. He offers me a spare room in his house. Nothing is for free in this part of the world, so we agree upon some payment and I take the room.

At supper, Damion asks me which road I am going to take tomorrow.

“The old Northern Highway! Supposed to be less traffic out there, isn’t it?” I reply.

“No, don’t take that road. Keep on the main highway. It is better!” he suggests.

“Why?”

“Lately, there have been quite a few robberies on the old road. If you are out there alone, people from small villages will see you and think, ‘a white guy on the bicycle! There must be a lot of nice stuff in those bags!’ They are going to come after you!”

“But, I am not white!” I argue.

He takes a puff of the joint, gazes at me for a couple of seconds while slowly exhaling the smoke and replies “you are not black either!”

I fall into the depths of thought wondering if the day will come when the societies will be evolved to a point that such stereotypes will have no place in our lives? Or people will continue to suffer and make other suffer just because of their skin colour?


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