BELIZE – A Foundation Problem

“While many things change, most things remain constant”

Belize is a small country nestled in the Caribbean Basin between Mexico and Guatemala. Rich in resources, Belize boasts the second the largest barrier reef in the world and is the home to one of the largest most fertile rain forest in Central America. Eco-tourism has flourished in the past few decades. Oil was discovered a few years ago in the western part of the country. However, in light of such wealth, Belize also boasts of poverty levels in 30-40% of the population according to Caribbean World Bank Development.

However, “While many things change most things remain constant.”  For example; In a world of buildings we have seen changes in types of homes. Just consider homes from past to present you will see the constant changes in space, design and shapes. However, no matter the constant changes to these structures one thing remains constant, the foundation. The need for a good foundation has never changed. Without it, these structures—no matter the external changes—will not stand for long. I believe the same principle is true for nations. As monumental shifts have occurred in this world due to the discovery of the internet, globalization, migration and new inventions, certain things remain the same, specifically the absolute need for an unchangeable foundation based on the absolute truth about mankind. Here are a few foundational problems I thought about on my recent visit to Belize.

Health of Families

As I traveled across the country for six days I came across a constant call to help in the area of marriage. I found myself spending hours with couples who were in trouble in their marriage. The complete inability to deal with conflicts, generational offenses, and just the rampant need for relational principles at a basic level is evident. A nation is strong when the family is strong. When families begin to disintegrate the negative impact is massive. One of the issue is the vacuum it creates among children that leaves them open to street gangs who provide that need for some sort of family structure. Belize has seen a tremendous rise in gangs and gang violence. Today it ranks the third highest national murder rate in the world. The majority of the homicide take place in Belize City where gang violence is rampant. This is a direct result of the complete breakdown of the family, especially in Belize City. 

Lack of Male Leadership

Northwood Church is very invested in Belize and our approach to mission is through the domains of society, especially through the education domain. We have developed relationships with those at the highest level in education. One such female leader was asking me to help them in the area of motivating male leadership in this domain. This particular leader is the director of the largest school district in Belize. She told me that out of 176 schools she only has 2 male principals. There has been a complete exodus of males from leadership in the education domain. Male leadership is foundational to the health of a family, church, nation. The question is why are they absent in the education domain and how can reverse that trend?

Lack of Servant Leaders in Government

Another area is the lack of Servant leaders. The entire system from the top to the bottom and across all domains of society is built upon leadership by power and manipulation. The desire to take for themselves as much as possible before they are relieved from their position develops a winner-take-all attitude. If you ask children in Belize the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer is usually two-fold, an immigration officer or a government position. They understand that to have anything beyond just barely surviving these two vocations afford you the possibility to make more money through stealing and bribes. An entirely different leadership foundation is needed or these patterns will continue to perpetuate themselves through every generation of leadership.

While many things are changing in this world, many remain the same. Without healthy families, male leadership and a philosophy of servant leadership within the fabric of a society, a nation will have a very weak foundation. It will not able to withstand the whirlwind of change and the house it is built on will eventually fall. It does not matter how great the external structure is the foundation dictates the future of that house.

Omar Reyes

Omar Reyes

Omar equips members to use their job to engage the domains of society, including government, business, medical and others to see radical transformation.