After working in the tourism industry, Joan Lambey, or Mama G, as affectionately known, decided to open her own business. It started off as a small fast food restaurant selling things like garnaches and panades. Today, Tugucina Gloria is a champion of Garifuna culture and serves both international and authentic Garifuna cuisine.
Joan Gloria Lambey was born in the beautiful coastal village of Hopkins on March 28, 1964, to her mother Angela Guitterez, and her father Alexander Lambey. Her Late uncle, the Great Pablo Lambey, was a Garifuna activist and legend.
Mama G is passionate about preserving the cultural traditions of the Garifuna people who settled on the shores of Belize more than two centuries ago, through food, history, and culture.
Hopkins is a charming coastal village in the Stann Creek district, south of Dangriga. Here, residents still prepare meals the traditional way by catching their own fish and harvesting their own cassava. Hopkins is said to be the center of the Garifuna culture in Belize and has a population of just over one thousand.
The village has a laid-back vibe and friendly residents, earning it the title of Friendliest Village in Belize. With the looming Mayan Mountains to the west and the Caribbean Sea crashing lazily against the shore to the east, Hopkins makes the perfect place for a quiet and peaceful vacation in Belize.
The Garinagu People settled on the coast of Belize over 200 years ago after escaping slavery plantations in other parts of the Caribbean. They brought with them an abundance of language, culture, food, and dance. Garifuna music and dance are used to tell stories about the history and milestones of the Garinagu. Punta and Paranda are the two most popular genres.
The drum is a traditional instrument used and is typically made by hollowing out the trunk of a Mahogany, Mayflower, or Cedar tree and covered with stretched dried deer, sheep, or goat skin. These drums are often used alongside turtle shells and seashell knee shakers.
Traditional Garifuna cuisine has unified with those of other cultures and is loved by Belizeans in all parts of the country. Some staples of Garifuna food include fish, plantains, coconut, and cassava. Their meals are mainly soups and stews made with coconut milk and ground foods, as well as habanero pepper for extra spice.