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May 6, 2019

Machakilha – No Road and No Access to Bare Essentials

On Friday, we showed you the grueling journey of five primary school students from Machakilha Village, who left their homes in the dead of night and walked six miles to another remote village en route to Corazon Creek where they sat part-two of the Primary School Exams.  Without an access road, the isolated community is cut off from the convenience of indoor plumbing, electricity and telecommunications.  Most importantly, they are also marooned from access to healthcare.  Tonight, we revisit Machakilha and the hardships its citizens endure in the extreme reaches of Toledo District.  Isani Cayetano has the following story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The inaccessible village of Machakilha is one of the most economically depressed communities in southern Belize.  With a total population of one hundred and five residents, the livelihood of many, if not all of those who live here, is based on agriculture.

 

Arnaldo Putul

Arnaldo Putul, Second Alcalde, Machakilha Village

“The parents choose to come and live here in Machakilha.  They like the area, it‘s lowland area and everything that grows here, especially rice, the parents are always interested in planting rice and corn and that is what they usually do and especially raising cattle as well, that is their interest.  And the place is open, we‘re all Belizeans and I believe that we can use the land wherever we wish to.”

 

Its remoteness, however, cuts off Machakilha from access to basic amenities, including potable water, electricity and healthcare.  The dire need for a road to be built goes beyond the students who are forced to make the daily trek to the neighboring village of Dolores.

 

Cristina Coc

Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, MLA

“All they’re asking for is the bare minimum to give them that true access that they are asking for.  If you can imagine mothers, women making the trek when they are pregnant and in their final term of pregnancy to access a hospital or a healthcare center.  Imagine making that trek.  One has to understand when somebody dies, for example, the law mandates that you have to take your deceased to the nearest doctor so that they can certify death.  Imagine having to carry and having to bring them back and that is only because you will have to charter a vehicle from Dolores to get to the nearest healthcare center.”

 

Realizing those hardships, young Alfonso Putul is intent on becoming a doctor.  In the future, he wants to give back to his community in the service of others.

 

Alfonso Putul

Alfonso Putul, Resident, Machakilha Village

“In my future I want to become a doctor.  I want to work for myself, for my family and for my community and for my country.  So I‘m kindly asking the government to build Machakilha a rock road as soon as possible.  We want to be treated like others.”

 

At the heart of the issue is the question of political will.  These families, like others in Toledo District, are largely neglected and their needs continue to go unnoticed.

 

Cristina Coc

“These are families that have a very small cash flow.  Their livelihood is land-based, their livelihood, their dependence is on the forest and how they can make a life from the forest and so all of this in this context, you begin to realize the magnitude of the problem and the struggle that these families are faced with.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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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