♬ – "Gudemei" by Garifuna Collective

Orinoco is a Garifuna diaspora community located near Bluefields in the Pearl Lagoon region of Nicaragua. Over time, the Garinagu in Orinoco and throughout the Caribbean side of Nicaragua have been stripped of most of their language and culture. Currently in this region, it is rare to find one under the age of 65 that is fluent in the indigenous language, as many are taught English and Spanish from birth.

Alexander and Ashton, the two young men that took me in during my short time in Orinoco showed me around the village, and cooked "Adul" a porridge made of mazapan (breadfruit), strawberry flavoring, cinnamon, coconut milk, and cane sugar. The Adul is said to be "good for your back," and the guys joked about the porridge and how it sits in your stomach like a baby...or multiple babies, depending on how much you eat.

Although it was refreshing to talk and interact with them without the barrier of verbal language, it was sobering recognizing that this was simply another legacy of colonialism. Both Ashton and Alexander spoke of dreams of visiting Honduras, where the "real Garifuna" people live, the motherland and stronghold of Garifuna culture.

If you think this is romanticized narrative, that is probably because this was a romantic experience and continues to be one. This is me falling in love with my cultural makeup. This is me seeking out my Garifuna heritage. I fall more in love with Black culture and Garifuna culture the more I learn of struggles and victories past and present.

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