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Apr 18, 2023

Preserving Kriol Kolcha Through Kuchriments

On tonight’s episode of Kolcha Tuesday, we look at a husband and wife couple that is working together to preserve Creole language and culture through artisanship.  Andrea and Dion Rodriguez founded Kuchriments a few years ago, as a means of making some money from the sale of small trinkets and personal accessories, but their creative use of Creole proverbs has launched their products far beyond Belize and into the Diaspora.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Preserving shared beliefs and values are essential for maintaining cohesion in a society, as it fosters a sense of identity and belonging among communities.  Without cultural preservation, diversity and heritage can be lost, resulting in the homogenization of societies, as well as the disappearance of unique traditions and practices.  Enter Kuchriments, a standalone brand that aims to carry on Creole culture through the use of popular expressions.


Andrea Rodriguez

Andrea Rodriguez, Founder, Kuchriments

“I kind of stumbled into Kuchriments, you know, because one day I realized… well my husband brought home a calendar and I was like, why we noh have wahn calendar that, you know, captures our culture and fun and, you know, and educational at the same time.  So that is how I kinda stumbled into this, I started with a simple little black and white calendar with the words, everything is in Kriol, the Belize standardized Kriol spelling.  That’s what I chose to use.”


Cultural practices are passed down from generation to generation in various ways, including oral tradition.


Dion Rodriguez

Dion Rodriguez, Co-founder, Kuchriments

“Preservation of the culture is part of our identity as Belizeans and so I think the more we embrace it, the more people will want to travel to experience it because it’s different.  Even though we have had similar history with other Caribbean countries they are different cultural experiences here in Belize that others can learn from.”


By using colloquialisms as catchphrases on various accessories, Andrea Rodriguez and her husband founded Kuchriments, a creolized take on the word accoutrements.


Andrea Rodriguez

“Kuchriments means odds and ends, personal accessories, and I wanted a name that would capture everything that I would want to do.  I didn’t want to box it to just the calendar, so that is how I kinda came up with the name Kuchriments.”


Isani Cayetano

“It’s interesting that you would say that there is a standardized way of writing Creole because one of the expressions, one of the famous Creole expression is, “di wronga ih wronga, di kareka ih kareka.”


Andrea Rodriguez

“Well, you know, I think there were a lot of people who put a lot of effort into creating a standardized way so that we could all be on the same page, you know, it’s not to dictate how you should spell or speak Creole.  And so, I decided that because I wanted to also pay tribute to all those people like Sylvaana Udz and Ms. Yvette Herrera, even Dr. Colville Young, our former governor general, they all worked really hard to come up with a way that we could all have a set standard and so I decided that what is what I wanted to do and I’m loving it.  I had to teach myself how to write it, how to spell it and I am still learning.”


Married for the past twenty years, this couple, despite Andrea being of Creole descent and Dion being Garifuna, is firmly rooted in Belizean tradition.  They had an idea that was instantly marketable, but the Rodriguezes were initially reluctant to go all the way in, despite the investment that they had already made.


Dion Rodriguez

“After getting the first two hundred, because there was some hesitation in investing so much money and then not knowing if people would buy it.  The first two hundred were sold in two weeks, less than a month, and so we had to order more, and then order more, and so the experience has been amazing and through that, other products were birthed as well.”


Getting into business together has drawn the Rodriguezes closer to each other.  They work hand-in-hand to deliver on the many orders that keep pouring in.  Many of those requests are coming from Belizeans in the Diaspora.


Andrea Rodriguez

“It has been a life-changing journey for me.  People from all cultures, all walks of life, have been so so receptive, they live it, they want to share it with everybody.  I have people who say they share… I do a word of the day, a Creole word of the day, everyday, and they are like, we share it in our family group chat.  Some people say they share it with their study group, all over.  So Kuchriments started with just a little calendar here in Belize, people loved it, I sold out as I got them, and now Kuchriments is all over the world.  People from all over the world have been asking for my stuff and just really, really embrace it.  But I must say that the biggest support that I’ve received are from Belizeans abroad who want to connect with their, well what I call the heart language, cause Creole da di heart language fi lotta wih.”


Preserving the Creole language is Andrea and Dion’s humble way of contributing to Belize’s economic growth without losing the authenticity and integrity of the Creole culture. Isani Cayetano for News Five.

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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