Blue Creek rebounds with outside help
The last time News 5 reported
from the village of Blue Creek
was in 1994 when it hosted a
programme called "The Jason
Project". Since those busy days,
the picturesque community has
had its share of ups and downs.
Last weekend I got a chance to see for myself.
Janelle Chanona, Reporting
In October 2001, Blue Creek Village in the Toledo
District was one of the communities severely affected
by Hurricane Iris. Once forested mountains were wiped
clean, changing the face of Blue Creek for a
generation. The villagers worked hard to repair their
damaged buildings and reconstruction was well
underway. But in late June of this year, the first rains
of the season hit Blue Creek with a vengeance.
Of the two tragedies to befall them within the last
nine months, the people of Blue Creek say the floods
have been the most damaging. The waters here rose
so quickly, there was only time to save themselves
and their families.
According to villagers, the water rose more than
fifteen feet during the night and many were forced to
seek refuge at a nearby quarry.
"Up to here, it almost reach this house. So we had to
move and all of this is water, current. And we got
some kids, and that is the worse."
"Inside is really, really muddy inside when we get
Question: "How long did it take you to clean up?"
"About two to three days."
No one was injured, but many people returned home
only to find out all their household belongings had
been washed away. While clothing and shoes can be
replaced, the hardest blow was the loss of a year of
hard work as the raging waters took the precious
sacks of corn stored in the homes awaiting processing.
The loss poses serious social and economic
implications to the people of Blue Creek.
"What did people lose in the flood?"
Martin Ical, Resident, Blue Creek village
"They lose some chickens, and the corn, that's mostly
what they lose."
"That's a big loss, losing the corn."
"That's their food, their local food. So they lost that.
The waters of the flood took bags floating out,
chickens, dogs are going, pigs, that's what they are
doing. That's what the flood did for us."
But today life goes on. The river that runs through
Blue Creek is still swollen from the rains, but daily
activities still revolve around it. This is a village with
very little infrastructure, so the water is used for
drinking, bathing and washing. The children cast
nets...and use hand lines to fish.
And the community is getting help. Over the weekend,
student members of T.R.E.E., Teens Restoring Earth's
Environment from the state of Idaho arrived in Blue
Creek to lend a hand.
Brecca Chabot-Olson, T.R.E.E.
"We raised money back in the states for Blue Creek to
help out with the hurricane and then the flood and
everything. And we have about fifty dollars for your
The students made the U.S. cash presentations to
each of the forty-seven families living in Blue Creek.
"I'll buy food with it at least, to help me in my home,
According to group leader, Richard Jordan, students
from T.R.E.E. have been coming to Belize for more
than ten years now.
J. Richard Jordan, T.R.E.E.
"There was a real connection. The students they
found the people here to be so friendly and so
supportive and loving and giving and just caring. So
they were really moved by all the tragedy that they
experience so they really wanted to do something in a
small way, to help them out in this difficult time."
Jocelyn Orr, T.R.E.E.
"It's very gratifying. We worked very hard for this, we
spent a lot of time raising this money. These people
are our neighbours and we need to help them and I
think we need to help them and I'm glad I'm apart of
it. I'm glad I'm here."
Kira Christensen, T.R.E.E.
"We decided that we should come here. We raised the
money and we wanted to come down here and hand it
out personally because it is a lot of different when
you come down and are able to see the families and
interact with them instead of just sending a cheque
through the mail."
In addition to the hundred dollars given to each of the
families, the students also distributed clothing to the
villagers. As the people here wait out the rest of the
hurricane season, they're keeping their fingers crossed
that they will be spared any more devastation.
Reporting from the Toledo District, I am Janelle
Chanona for News 5.
Next year the crew from Idaho plans to help the
village in the area of education.