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Jul 29, 2003

Visiting Oddfellows looking to restart Bz. branch

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The Oddfellows are back in Belize. No, they are not a bunch of men doing strange things, but that is how they got their name…as in the 1820s back in England, men doing charity work was a little odd. From branches around the globe, the Oddfellows have done everything from building orphanages, homeless shelters to maintaining parks and playgrounds. The order was big in Belize in the 1940s, but over the years the absence of energetic members has made their work little more than a memory. This week, however, a group of Oddfellows from the U.S.A. are visiting Belize, pushing their motto of friendship, love and truth…all in an effort to “improve and elevate the character of mankind.” And they’re eager to induct new members to the organization.

Harry Lohman, Independent Order of Oddfellows

“What the Oddfellows do and what we are all about is to helping our fellow man. If there is a school that needs books, we raise money and furnish the books for that school. If there is a park in the city that needs to be refurbished, we adopt that park and take care of that park for the different seasons, put flowers and whatever for that particular season. We have a jurisdiction in the United States that collects shoes, new shoes and we give those to the children in the schools that can’t afford these shoes.”

Janelle Chanona

“Now tell me, if someone wanted to join your organisation in Belize, what would they have to do?”

Harry Lohman

“All they have to do is believe in the supreme being, you believe in God, you believe in whoever it is that you pray to, that’s all you have to do to become an Oddfellow. We do not distinguish between race or anything, everybody is welcomed in the Oddfellows.”

If you would like to join the Oddfellows, please contact Daniel Gorham in San Ignacio at 824-2382 or John Longsworth in Belize City at 608-8123.

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