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Jun 13, 2022

An Improved Road Paves Way for Rural Transformation in Machakilha Village

Transformation has come to the rural community of Machakilha. The village is situated in the southernmost part of the country and the population is made up of families of Mayan decent. For generations, the community has gone without electricity, proper access to potable water, and a roadway suitable for commuting to and from the village. In order to get to the nearest village that is accessible by vehicle, residents of Machakilha were required to trek an often muddy and dangerous twelve-mile jungle terrain. Finally, a new road has been constructed from Dolores to Machakilha. This carriageway has opened up a world of possibilities for residents in this once remote community. News Five’s Paul Lopez was in Machakilha. He filed the following report.


Alfonso Putul

File—May 3rd 2019; Alfonso Putul, Resident, Machakilha Village

We have to get up early in the morning and then go bathe, then start trekking that road and sometimes when it’s muddy we have to go early and when we reach we are tired.”


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Three years ago, in May of 2019, a News Five team visited Machakilha Village to highlight the plights of students within the community whose journey to school from the village meant negotiating  twelve miles of rigorous jungle terrain.  At the time, Alfonso Putul was preparing to sit the Primary School Examinations. In that story, we called attention to the physical challenges that Putul and his peers were faced with, having to travel outside of the village to sit the exams.


Alfonso Putul

Alfonso Putul, Resident, Machakilha Village

“I am from the class of three general now. This is third year for high school. I have only one more year to graduate from highschool.”


Despite the odds, Putul successfully sat the PSE’s and is now enrolled at Corazon Creek Technical High School. Some improvements were made to the roadway during Putul’s first couple of years in secondary school. It was not until May of 2022, however, that the dirt road reached Machakilha.


Alfonso Putul

“I was actually proud of seeing those workers that build the road to this beautiful village, because from since we had a really tough time to communicate with others and visit other places, but now it is actually easier and faster to go and less dirty of clothes. It is really helping me for my education. Now I don’t have to walk to go to school. I really appreciate this road that you built for us to go to school.”


This new access by vehicle to Machakilha has also transformed the community’s mode of transportation. Already, the number of vehicle owners within the community is increasing. Alfonso’s uncle, Marciano Putul, no longer has to park his truck miles away from home.


Marciano Putul

Marciano Putul, Resident, Machakilha Village

“It makes my life a lot easier, because before I had to left it our there and I would always be worrying about it because I had nobody to mine it. But, now that I have it in my yard it is much easier. I bring my stuff in and I just get up, drive in, and drive out back, nice neat. It feels a lot relaxed because I don’t have to stretch my feet to walk way in, so it is a lot easier right now.”


The construction of this coarseroad has also paved a way for the electrification of Machakilha. From a community that has, for generations, used candles and kerosene lamps as their main source of light, today neighborhood stores are selling frozen items. Several months ago, when the dirt road was only partially built, the Government of Belize and villagers teamed up to truck and carry solar panels into the village in order to provide electricity to homes and businesses.


Seydi Shol

Seydi Shol, Resident, Machakilha Village

“The solar is doing great. It is helping a lot with the shop. It provides us the light for the bulbs. It also provides the freezer. The freezer is working well. We normally freeze water or cokes there for visitors. We couldn’t get the electricity lights; we normally used the candles for our lights. We don’t have the freezer, but when we get the electricity we bought the freezer, because we already have the solar panel for it.”


Marciano Putul

“It makes my business grow a little bit more, because due to cold stuff, and then I got ice chicken. So, there is no need for the people to go and walk for things that they want. So, it is a very helpful thing that they are doing for us. Yes, like you said, we have the local chickens, but now and again you want to try what is out there. That is the way I see it.”


And, solar power has also transformed the way Alfonso Putul approaches his academic studies at home.


Alfonso Putul

“The electricity is really helpful to me, because I have light at home now to do my homework. It helps me because less gas or things we use to do our homework with, because, now things are really expensive and it is really helping me for my education. We have much more electronic things to own, because it is really easier to get access to other people like relatives or friends.”


The next phase in the electrification process is the installation of a water pump, powered by solar energy, to provide potable water to every household in Machakilha.


Alfonso Putul

“There is actually one more thing. We are, only our transportation to school. We want that now, because gas prices are rising up and it is really expensive for us, because we cost a lot of money to go to school. We need gas for our bikes and then like, now we want our transportation. We want to see our own bus reaching our own village and we will be excited for that.


Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.

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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