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Oct 5, 2018

Graham Creek Village Forgotten and Neglected?

This week, we showed you the story of Graham Creek Government School, where the commitment of two dedicated teachers to the teaching profession has inspired many across the country. The hardships the teachers face and the rough journey of a seven mile hike into the village is only a fraction of the dire conditions experienced in the village. The teachers also have to live inside the classroom because they don’t have a teacher’s quarters. But the plight of the teachers is only one aspect of the neglect that villagers face. News Five’s Andrea Polanco shares more from the trip to Graham Creek.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The people of Graham Creek live a simple life. The sixteen Ketchi families live in wooden or thatch homes. They cook on fire-hearth and fetch water from a well or nearby creek. Their means of transportation is either by foot or horse.  And while they are happy with what they have and they make the most of it, the village has many needs.  Alberto Coc is a senior in the village who once served as the health worker. He says getting sick in Graham Creek is just one part of the struggle – getting medical attention is the other part.


Alberto Coc

Alberto Coc, Graham Creek Resident

“Sometimes my village they will get sick, so I talk to the Alcalde and the chairman. The Alcalde sends the village police to carry the persons who sick.”


Andrea Polanco

“On horses?”


Alberto Coc

“Sometimes on horses and sometimes on [our] back. Sometimes on the bed or hammock, four people have to carry one person. Sometimes when someone is alive, I back them too. I send them to emergency and I pay the charter from [Crique] Sarco. I pay two hundred dollars to carry and then after that two hundred dollars to bring them back. Then if they die, I bury them in Sarco.”


Andrea Polanco

“It is very expensive?”


Alberto Coc

“It is very expensive. That is one of the hard things I see in my village.”


Teachers Jose Cuc and Germuel Choco live inside the Graham Creek Government School during the week. After their seven mile journey through the forest on Monday mornings, they teach their students during the day and by night use their beddings or the class furniture to sleep. They say it is because they don’t have a teachers’ quarters to live in, although it has been approved by the Ministry of Education since April of this year.


Germuel Choco

Germuel Choco, Teacher, Graham Creek Government School

“I sleep in the classroom. Sometimes sleep on the table and sometimes I make my own bed in the classroom.”


Andrea Polanco

“It is a lot of sacrifice?”


Germuel Choco

“Yes. It is a lot of sacrifice. We don’t really have that communication at home and especially with our teachers’ house. We apply for it and the Ministry told us it is approved but it is long overdue.”


Jose Cuc

Jose Cuc, Principal, Graham Creek Government School

“We have to pack up our beds as soon as seven-thirty reach. We have to pack up our beds. So, we cook noodles and sometimes we order tortilla. It is like a school and a kitchen, but what we have to do? We just have to move on.”


Coc says that the villagers and teachers should not have to endure these kinds of hardships.


Alberto Coc

“The teacher house – they nuh have house now. So it is hard. I want to tell the Government to try and send the teachers’ house now. Plus the toilet, too. I fixed the toilet and worked for that. I cut the lumber, so (shrugs).”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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