Belmopan– I recently heard a snippet of instruction in the virtual education classrooms that opened after the traditional ones closed due to COVID-19. The presenter was explaining the origin of the word “Boom,” the name of a village in the Belize District.
As I’ve said, I got just a bit of the lesson and may have missed out on some preliminary information, like the source of the narrative, and whether it was a history lesson or an English lesson. The way the word “boom” was drawn out made me think it might have been a lesson in phonics. That no mention was made of the other chain booms (at St. James’ or at Haulover), further reduces the likelihood that this was a lesson in history.
The storyline was alarming and entertaining, having the unmistakable ring of a travel writer’s love for anecdotal hype. The narrative mentioned the heavy chain which lay across the river at Boom. “When it rocked against the footings it sounded like a ‘BOOM,’ children,” said the narrator, “hence the name of the village!” (Or words to that effect.) No mention was made of the onset of the rainy season when the chain booms were raised, of mahogany logs hurtling freestyle downriver from upriver camps, or of shoals and rapids along the course of the river that precluded log rafting till the last of these dangers had been passed.
Hopefully discerning parents, bewildered by this misrepresentation of history, have spiritedly rectified the virtual slip by providing their children with the correct account of how the village got its name.