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Dec 3, 2013

Diverse abilities children gets a special tour of the Belize Zoo

Children with diverse abilities, as they are called, got a special tour of the Belize Zoo today. Even though they cannot see or hear, they captured the sounds of nature of the Zoo. The outing was held as part of the activities of World Disabilities Day. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was hand for the event.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A trip to the Belize Zoo, for most children of primary school age, is an outdoor experience in sight and sound.  For eleven year old Juan Reneau, it’s his third time here.  Each successive visit it is a unique aural encounter.


Juan Reneau, Visually Impaired

Juan Reneau

“I think I really like it.”


Isani Cayetano:

“Describe the sounds that you’ve heard on your third visit to the zoo.”


Juan Reneau

“Well I’ve heard loud sounds, soft sounds and sometimes very, very loud sounds.  And my favoritest thing, the sound I like is the howler monkey sound.”


Like most of his peers on this outing, Juan is of diverse abilities.  His blindness nonetheless, does not stop him from enjoying the sounds of nature.  Today’s trip is an excursion organized by the Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities.  Eva Cayetano-Middleton is a volunteer with BAPDA.


Eva Cayetano-Middleton

Eva Cayetano-Middleton, Volunteer, BAPDA

“This special trip to the zoo is in celebration of World Disabilities Day and on this day the theme is accessibility.  So we choose to come and experience accessibility at a zoo and that is why we are here today.  Boys, girls, women and children are invited to come and enjoy and experience this accessible, natural, Belizean zoo.”


Isani Cayetano

“I know it’s a first-time experience for some of those in this particular group.  Can you speak to us on the reactions seeing the exotic wildlife here at the zoo?”


Eva Cayetano-Middleton

“The reaction, mein this is awesome.  I had my awe moments like everybody else.  We surely enjoyed it and the beauty of what we have in Belize, I mean I’ve been to zoo in Mexico and in the United States and I enjoyed this far more than what I see out there.  And the reactions of persons present here today is that it was a wonderful idea to come.”


That idea, says Juan, is an enriching experience as it allows him to learn more about the flora and fauna in Belize.


Isani Cayetano

“What is this experience for you, seeing as though you are visually impaired but you’re still enjoying the natural environment and the animals and the sounds that you hear of them?”


Juan Reneau

“Well, it’s a good experience like to feel and to know what animals you are learning about what information you are getting.  I think it’s a great experience for me.”


The initiative is part of a large plan of action being coordinated by BAPDA to allow children primarily, the opportunity to equally enjoy all human rights and freedoms with other children. Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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