I was born in the town of San Ignacio in the Western district of Cayo, Belize. One of three kids, early I was driven toward people and much activities that involved a lot of people. I have been a member of the Scouting movement in Belize a movement that was led by my Dad in the Western part of the country. This was the institution that truly got me hooked on the outdoors, this along with my insatiable love of reading about natural histories and everything that National Geographic wrote via their kids magazine  ‘Ranger Rick’ or the original magazines.

Intrigued by the sciences, I studied the sciences in high school and in my early college career studied a combination of economics and biology. This would prove important in my later degree in Cultural Anthropology.

In December 1998 I was invited to work at Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions the company that service one of the most elite resorts in the country of Belize. I found a wonderful 12 year span of my life there. Ecotourism was the mantra and this has become a part of my thinking ever since. At Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions I worked as a Culture and History Guide. Eventually I became an educator in all things Maya and all things cultural to the guests that visited the lodge.

It is important to note that while I worked at Chaa Creek I was invited to teach a class in the middle of a semester at the local Junior College in San Ignacio Town. The subject was Adventure and ecotourism – just up my alley; exactly what my guiding description entailed. I fell in love with teaching. I have taught at the Junior College ever since. I presently teach two subjects: Introduction to Tourism, and Belizean history, culture and ecology (students can apply for their tour guiding license after taking this class and passing the tests). Additionally, I also teach Adventure and Ecotourism and Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. In 2008, The Center for Employment Training invited me to teach students two subjects in their Tour Guiding course. I am still teaching at Sacred Heart Junior College and at the Center for Employment Training. I like to think about it as a moral obligation and also a service to my community.

Inspiration is very important to me. In my studies of cultural anthropology I was inspired by some great people. Among many, Dr. Richard Lee, Dr. Jaime Awe, Dr. Michael Rosberg, Dr. Nancy Adamson, and Dr. Barbara Balboni – these people touched my life directly; challenging my thinking about my passion: poverty and inequality. Dr. Lee introduced me to the writings and work of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Medical Anthropologist of Harvard University whose work on poverty, structural violence, HIV AIDS and tuberculosis in Haiti and many other places around the world, changed my life forever. I have read all his writings up to 2011.

In an attempt for me to touch lives positively and in an attempt to make a difference in the world, I created a company I have called NINE ECOCULTURAL TOURS. This endeavor, as I like to think, is a social revolution and a moral obligation hidden inside a business. Again, inspiration came from the writing of people who themselves ignited revolutions to make people’s lives better. Among many, Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, John Maxwell, Steve Jobs, David Meerman Scott,  Guy Kawasaki, and Eben Pagan. These people have inspired me to create a purpose not only for myself but for as many people as possible. This is the way it must be if one wants to touch lives and change the world.

Change is good. Adapting to change is better. Being the change is best. My philosophy is that nothing is more important than the lives of people. Poverty is the most devastating ill there is in the world. We cannot sit around and watch it ravage people. It produces bad health, ignorance, anger and bitterness. This concoction will never allow better lives or better decision-making. It is my duty, while I can walk and talk and travel, to give all my energy in an attempt to enrich the lives of people everywhere and encourage others to do the same and sooner than we know it we can, together, change the world.

With respect,

Joe Awe
Chief Cultural Evangelist