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Nov 8, 2000

Mennonite women display colourful quilts

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We often say that Belize is a multi-cultural society… and proceed to tick off a long list of our various ethnic groups to prove the point. But beyond the hype, what do we really know about our cultural mix once we get past the “big four” of Creole, Garifuna, Maya and Mestizo? Today News Five’s Jose Sanchez met with some hard working Mennonite women and discovered that their artistic creations are an important part of Belize’s cultural patchwork.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Since 1994, the Mennonite women of Spanish Lookout have been coming to Belize City to showcase their quilt making skills. This year the Mennonite Women Quilting Circle returned with what they say is their best show yet.

Susie Wolfe, Quilter

“There were a few ladies, they made some quilts and they wanted to sell them, so they asked other ladies to help. So we thought about who we should ask in helping us and that’s the way how the group start.”

Jose Sanchez

“How long have you been making quilts? How old were you?”

Susie Wolfe
“Oh, I don’t know, from very young. I think before I went to school, since I was young maybe six, seven.”

The images of animals on the quilts, pillowcases and cushions have gradually changed over the years. Initially they contained wildlife such as wolves that are foreign to Belize. But now the women depict a variety of animals from around the country.

Jose Sanchez

“How long does it take to make some of these quilts?”

Mary Plett

“I like to have six weeks time from start to finish. Because it takes a lot of time to look for the materials. Sometimes we have to order it from the U.S. and sometimes from Mexico, it takes about a hundred hours, it’s a lot of work.”

These women not only work hard, but also creatively. Where they get their energy after tending to their traditional chores is a mystery.

Susie Wolfe

“First we do our home work, make food, wash dishes, and clean the house, wash clothes, fix the clothes, and sew clothes for the children and everything is okay in the house. Then we sit down and do the things that we like.”

Jose Sanchez

“Do any of the young ladies have a desire to learn?”

Susie Wolfe

“Yeah, there are some, but they all have their interests. I have two daughters, one likes it the other one doesn’t like it.”

But chances are that the public will like it. Jose Sanchez for News Five.

All the quilts are on sale, but you better hurry as the exhibition runs through Friday at the House of Culture on Regent Street in Belize City. After Friday you can call Susie Wolfe in Spanish Lookout at 08-30246.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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