Location: The Garifuna population that lives in the Atlantic Coast, between Belize and Nicaragua, is distributed in 43 towns and villages. Approximately 98,000 Garifunas live in Honduras, and they are mostly concentrated along the North coast from Masca, Cortés to Plaplaya, Gracias a Dios. Among other villages are: Santa Rosa de Aguan, Tornabé, Limón, Nueva Armenia, San Juán, Cosuna, Triunfo de la Cruz, and Baja Mar.
Health: Garifuna are subject to poor sanitary conditions throughout most of the area. The lack of clinical establishments, basic infrastructure projects, illness prevention programs, and nutrition programs greatly affect Garifunas. We can conclude that about 78% of the children under 12 years of age suffer from malnutrition, and that 3 out of 10 will die before they are 2 years old.
Housing: their housing consist of small huts with walls made of royal palm, sugar cane and of cement blocks. The ceiling is commonly made of hay, however they also use zinc as a ceiling too. There is a great tendency to replace their traditional style of housing for more modern types; however, these changes have helped improve their health conditions.
Politics: Garifunas do not believe in politics, they believe that they are too peaceful and that they can handle their personal problems without the intervention of any legal force; however, in some areas a governor is in charge of providing justice between the people. Only Garifunas that had the opportunity of being well educated are the ones that occupy government positions today.
Language: Most Garifunas not only speak Spanish, but also use the Igñeri dialect that is a combination of Arahuaco, French, Swahili, and Bantu.
Religion: Garifunas still maintain their own religious system that is a mixture of African and Amerindian traditions to which they have incorporated Catholic elements. Of great importance is the Garifuna religious system called Gubida that is the conception of the dreams and possession rituals as altered states of conscience considered, by the participants and believers, to be caused by the possession of a spiritual entity.
|Maria Luisa Duarte|
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Works in field
Native speaker of: English, Portuguese