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May 9, 2018

Going “Outback” in Crooked Tree

The popular proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” was the message behind an initiative carried out today by Region One Commander, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett and Crooked Tree stakeholders today. Select primary school students from Belize City were treated to an outback experience the protected wildlife sanctuary at Crooked Tree. From a boat ride to birding, horseback riding, a softball game against the Crooked Tree Government School and even a haircut, most of the children got a first-time experience of village life. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A group of about forty Belize City primary school students were taken on a tour of the village of Crooked Tree. The initiative, as was recently carried out in Maskall, is to expose the children to a different way of life beyond their urban setting that has been ridden with crime and violence. As early as eight-thirty this morning, they were onboard the police bus and taken some thirty-one miles out of the city where they were given a tour of the lagoon that encompasses the wildlife sanctuary. It was a first-of-its-kind experience for most of the children; many hadn’t even visited the Crooked Tree before.

 

Christion Tillett

Christion Tillett, Living Hope Presbytery School

“I like go pan the boat ride and everything.”

 

Duane Moody

“Did you see anything interesting on that boat ride?”

 

Christion Tillett

“Cow ina water. First time I see that ina deep water.”

 

Duane Moody

“Have you been to Crooked Tree before?”

 

Christion Tillett

“No sir.”

 

Duane Moody

“Talk to me about what all you’ve learned since being here.”

 

Christion Tillett

“When the water go down, all the animal and sea creatures go pan the next side of the lake.”

 

Cristal Castro

Cristal Castro, St. Luke Methodist Primary School

“This is my first time in Crooked Tree and I went on a boat. I see wah iguana, I see wah cow ina the water, I see some man di ker logwood in and I see some people di clean fish.”

 

Glenford Thomas

Glenford Thomas, St. John Vianney

“I saw some birds on the boat ride and some few animals, horse and stuff. Just getting to know each other and…”

 

Duane Moody

“This is your first time in Crooked Tree?”

 

Glenford Thomas

“No sir.”

 

Like many of the other students, twelve-year-old Glenford Thomas is looking forward to doing some horseback riding, which is among the many events scheduled for the day. Villager Steve Perriott speaks about the gamut of activities, including all boys getting a haircut.

 

Steve Perriott

Steve Perriott, Crooked Tree Villager

“I always feel like the problems in our society isn’t just for one person or for government; it is for everybody to play a part. Howell came in and he had a good initiative and as soon as I heard it, I felt it was something that we would like to be a part of. So I teamed up with the Crooked Tree PTA; I spoke with Verna Samuels from the Bird’s Eye View Lodge, George Moody and—I’m probably forgetting—and my wife…we did all the cooking. And we thought that this would be a good way to help Howell with what he’s doing; to show the kids in the city that they are not by themselves. It takes a village, literally, to raise a child sop we just want them to know that while they might not be seeing us or hearing from us, we are thinking about them.”

 

At the onset, Verna Samuels over at the Bird’s Eye View Lodge joined in on the initiative. She says the kids were treated to one of the many tours that are offered year round to guests at the lodge; it is educational and gives them a history of the village.

 

Verna Samuels

Verna Samuels, Bird’s Eye View Lodge

“It’s important because it is Belize and a lot of Belizeans don’t know this country well and we want to fix that so we are glad to start with the kids. Crooked Tree is a wildlife sanctuary; it is a bird sanctuary and most of all it is a RAMSAR Site, which means it is a very special wetland area. And because we have gotten all those recognition, we want the country to know about it and experience it. So we are very happy to have them here with us today.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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