Belize Independence Spotlight: Althea Neal

As Belizeans around the world celebrate 34 years of independence this week, The National Weekly sheds a spotlight on the many ways the Diaspora has enriched South Florida. Honoring this independence spirit, we spoke with members of the community in South Florida to talk about what makes them proud Belizeans in America.

Althea Neal

Born in: Stann Creek Town/Dangriga, Belize

Lives in: North Miami Beach

Life’s Passion: Caterer Althea says “baking remains a passion of mine – one that I inherited from a long line of ancestral bakers.” Her favorite Belizean treats to make “are Belizean milk cake, coconut and lemon tarts, potato pound (pone) bread pudding, and Belizean black and white fruit cake.”

Most cherished memory of home: Childhood family gatherings on Easter weekend back in Belize never fails to warm her heart, says Althea. “It all begins with the baking of Easter bun and other treats.” The holiday, says Althea, also felt like a break for the whole county. “All over businesses closed their doors at midday on Holy Thursday, and city dwellers flocked to the coastal towns and small islands offshore to relax for the longest weekend of the year.”

What makes her a proud Belizean-American: “Living and growing up in a third world country has taught me values that serve me very well in America,” says Althea. “And, as a proud Belizean-American, I am able to enjoy the blending of these cultures in a way that only an immigrant can.” Althea is also grateful for being “able to teach my daughter, who was born here, about the values of both.”

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