Wednesday, December 28, 2011



I got it from my belizeculture listserve, posted as an email

From San Pedro Daily:

All the time we see them come
Some are smart, some are dumb
Some are black, some are white
Chinese, Indian, Israelite
Canadians, South Africans, often Brits
Belize is great, home’s the pits
We tell them come and stay awhile,
Rent a house, Belizean style

Never rush, never jump,
Or you could buy a rubbish dump
“Oh no! Not me” they often cry
“I’ve been around, let them try
I am too clever, worldly-wise
To buy a swamp or collapsed high rise
I know the law, bring them on”
How often do we hear this song?

“I got money, want to spend
Cash to burn, cash to lend”
“Slow down SLOW DOWN we tell them all”
But rarely do they heed our call
To hide your money, don’t be flash
Don’t let them see your petty cash
Take it easy, make no strife
Come and try the easy life

“I know, I know! I have a brain!
Advice you give is all in vain
I’m not stupid, been around,
I’ve seen it all, there’s no new ground
Was in Belize, stayed three days,
Here’s my plans, be amazed
Bought some land, has a creek
Gone home to sell, be back next week”

“Going to build, got so much space
Belize will have to change its pace
I’m getting old, don’t have time
My place will be a real gold mine
I’ll make a fortune wait and see
My plans will work out faultlessly
I’ll start a business make some money
A king in the land of milk and honey”

And so they come despite the warning
Truck piled high and spend all morning
At the border checkpoint getting mad
Thinking that they’re being had
“How can they charge? This stuff’s not new!”
As they watch the customs turn the screw
“My truck is dirty used and old

Credit card reaches max
On environment and sales tax
And their pockets full of hard earned booty
Have emptied fast on import duty
So to the ATM they have to dash
When the Customs guy wipes out their cash
It’s just a setback, not too bad
They’re in Belize so just be glad

So jubilant they wend their way
To the jungle deep where big cats play
Where mozzies bite and scorpions sting
And the bush’s thorns large scratches bring
To the forest damp where mildew grows
To rot your ‘lectrics, shoes and clothes
But they’re not daunted, they are strong
How often have we heard this song?

And oh! What Joy! They find their neighbour
Can build their house, and do hard labour
Can chop their bush, can plant their trees
The smartest man in all Belize
There is nothing that he can’t do
Given cash and tools and wood and glue
A house by Christmas, won’t take long
How often have we heard this song?

But cash aplenty are his needs
To start construction, plant your seeds
A new machete to chop your grass
To build a road so you may pass
He needs material, steel, and screws
Cement and block, no time to lose
Gimme dollah gimme quick
Buy me hammer, saw and brick

He has a cousin, wife and brother’s son
His auntie’s uncle’s sister’s one
His whole family will lend a hand
To build your house and till your land
To cook your meals and wash your clothes
To guard your house whilst you doze
It just takes money, little bit
On little bit and bit and bit

But soon those bills are getting large
The money pit’s not free of charge
The credit card is getting worn
Our new arrivals look forlorn
All the while demands for cash
Are diminishing the money stash
The materials that came were wrong
The nails too short, the steel too long
And wondrous neighbour soon forgot
He told you he could do the lot

Excuses and evasions come
The started work was never done
Sun too hot, it rain too hard
Me granny dead, they burn ma yard
Foot painin me, Ma house collapse
Car done bruk, Licence lapse,
Pickni sick, he very ill
Gimme money to buy a pill
Police ketch me, I done no wrong
How often do we hear this song?

And soon they meet officialdom
To Belmopan they must come
To show their passport, licence, form
To stay in a land of sun and warm
You residency they want to thwart
Your retirement plans may come to naught
Immigration take too long
They’ve lost your file, your paper’s gone
Pay more cash to extend your stay
Wait one month or two they say

The mall’s not built, the shops are bare
Of modern goods ‘cept Chinese fare
No bowling alley, cinema
Was it wise to come this far?
The roads are bumpy have big holes
My pickup truck is looking old
There’s no Big Macs or KFC
Italian restaurant ceased to be
The power’s hardly ever on
How often have we heard this song?

The rains did come, the land did flood
The building site has turned to mud
The lush mangrove that I cut down
Has caused my coconuts to drown
And even though I had a plan
My huge Condo they want to ban
It’s not my fault, Third World you see
I am foreign, they pick on me

My neighbour’s gone, my cash he took
His auntie’s wife could never cook
My tools, my blocks, my roofing tin
Have vanished into air so thin
Cement got wet, the sand was dirt
My funds are gone I lost my shirt
The gas was bad my truck has seized
I won’t accept I’ve been Belized
My health has failed not feeling well
My worldly goods I have to sell
Going back home, where things are normal
Where rules are rules and life is formal

And all because he didn’t listen
To those well versed in his position
He burned his bridges, came too fast
And we all knew he’d never last
We told him loud we told him blunt
NEVER pay your cash up front
NEVER think you know it all
NEVER think our tale’s too tall
And all advice that he forsook
To never jump before you look
Has sent him packing, pockets empty
Back again to lands of plenty

Be even though we are so smug
We know Belize is like a drug
That if you come and stay awhile
You’ll be swept in Belizean style
A pirate’s land, with pirate’s luck
We need their cash, their loot, their buck
Where many fail, just some succeed
To fill that urge, that inner need
To live a life, exotic, free
Of jungle trail and sun and sea

So who can blame them, those who come
To try their luck with what we’ve done
But sure as dawn on misty mornings
The ones that fail, ignored the warnings
That things are done here differently
To the things back home you wish to flee
So bide your time, be at ease
Time means little in Belize
Its not that we don’t know its wrong
But we do get tired of this old song. by Rigrat

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