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Twenty Questions - The April Interview

with Ms. Zelma 'Zee' Edgell

Ms. Zelma 'Zee' Edgell According to your biographical information, we understand that you were born in Belize City in 1940. What was it like as a child growing up in Belize City? How has the city changed since your youh?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I was born in Belize City, where I grew up there. The population of the country is much larger now, and the architecture in certain parts of Belize City, and in the countryside, is slowly changing. I love the National Museum in what was the gaol when I was a girl. Your first book "Beka Lamb" was the first novel published by a Belizean writer to be internationally circulated. Please tell us what this meant to you?

Ms. Zee Edgell: The publication of BEKA LAMB was the realization of a childhood dream. You have been involved with Women's affairs and issues all your life, in Belize as well as in other countries around the world. Please tell us what challenges still face specifically the women of Belize?

Ms. Zee Edgell: Belizean women continue to work for basic needs, for example, a living wage, health care, housing, education, etc. Working for woman's issues as well as writing books is obviously demanding, both mentally and physical. What do you do to keep in shape? What is your favourite past-time occupation?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I enjoy walking, and reading. What is your greatest outdoor adventure ever experienced in Belize?

Ms. Zee Edgell: When I was a young girl, we sometimes spent a part of our holidays, with my grandmother, in a small house in the bush on the Sibun River. We cooked on a fire hearth, carried water from the well, picked the fruits, swam in the river, went for rides in boats and dories. What is your most favourite Belizean food dish? What is your most favourite locally grown fruit, what is the most favourite vegetable?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I love rice and beans, stewed chicken, potato salad, baked plaintains, with ripe mangoes for dessert. I enjoy vegetables and fruits of all kinds. Have you ever had the luck to see any of Belize's exotic wildlife such as a jaguar, tapir or the like? Have you ever been bitten by a scorpion, snake or spider?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I have seen the jaguar, and the tapir, in the Belize Zoo. I have never been bitten by a scorpion, snake or spider. How many of the Maya archaeological sites in Belize have you visited? Which site was the most fascinating for you?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I have visited many Maya Sites in Belize, and in Mexico. The last one I visited was Lamanai in the Orange Walk District. What would you consider to be the greatest asset of Belize?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I think that the people of Belize is its greatest asset. Can you tell us a highlight to date of your life in your involvement with Women's Affairs?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I felt honoured to serve the Government of Belize as Head of the Women's Unit, on one occasion, and as the Director of the Department of Women's Affairs a few years later. At present I am an Associate Professor, in the Department of English, at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. Can you tell us a highlight of your personal life?

Ms. Zee Edgell: My husband and I have been married for about thirty-five years. We have two grown children, who are married. We are also grandparents. What are the top five books we should all read in our lifetime?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I think people should read whatever they feel like reading most at any given time. Who would be on your list of favourite Belizean artists, writers and musicians? Who would be on your list of favourite non-Belizean artists, writers and musicians? What kind of music do you like to listen to?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I enjoy the variety of music, art, and literature in Belize. How would you answer the question "What is (the) Belizean Culture?"

Ms. Zee Edgell: Belizean culture is so complex, it would be hard to decide on a definition. Belize is so ecologically diverse with natural beauty abundant. What do you consider the most beautiful spot in all of Belize?

Ms. Zee Edgell: As you said, Belize is ecologically diverse, and very beautiful. Like most Belizeans, I am able to find a beautiful spot wherever I am in Belize. This second Edition of focuses on Belize's Ambergris Caye. What do you like about Ambergris Caye?

Ms. Zee Edgell: I like the people of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, the swimming, diving, food, etc. What do you consider the biggest challenge for Belize and Belizeans in the 21st century?

Ms. Zee Edgell: The challenges that face all Belizeans include a living wage, health care, housing, education etc. What would you most want someone reading this article to remember about what Belizean Zee Edgell has to say?

Ms. Zee Edgell: If you can, send a book you like to the National Library in Belize.

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