Old Benque Anniversary Travelling Exhibition opened
The “Old Benque Anniversary Travelling Exhibition’ was formally opened last Thursday night at the Benque Viejo del Carmen’s House of Culture. Doing the cutting of the ribbon to the exhibition was David Ruiz, whose works are prominently displayed at the exhibition. The night’s events were to mark the 25thAnniversary of Old Benque: Erase Una Vez en Benque Viejo, written by David Ruiz as well as the 14th Anniversary of the Benque Viejo House of Culture. Master of ceremonies, Ingris Can, a representative from the National Institute of Culture and History NICH, gave an opportunity for members of the community to provide some oral history.
Traditional stories and other oral history passed on via conversations, such as between the elderly and young, have become a dying art in technology driven societies across the Globe. As a result, the Directors of Culture; especially at NICH, have been working very hard to elicit such treasures from members of the community in both oral and written form. The various Houses of Cultures around Belize are now repositories for such traditional arts and the Belize National Library Service and Information System is also doing its part to guard our Belizean stories so that future generations can enjoy them.
Alberto Aldana a marimba player from Benque recounted some local folk stories on Thursday whilst Ofelima Lima, a retired teacher also retold a story about the Duende. For these are the folk heroes of a community in Western Belize and books have the special ability to transport its readers back in time.
David Ruiz, an author and teacher also read from his Book, Old Benque, which is now an integral part of Literature and Spanish programs in High Schools across Belize.
Thus; the “Old Benque Anniversary Travelling Exhibition”, which is now open to members of the public. After being shown in Benque, this display will then be taken to San Ignacio, Orange Walk and San Pedro. Shown at the exhibition are fifteen sketches done in pencil by Luis Alberto Ruiz, which was included in the first copy of the manuscript for Old Benque. Lining the walls at the House of Culture are chalk markings left by students expressing appreciation for Old Benque, which was first published in 1990 by Cubola Productions.
The Book itself, with four stories written in Spanish, provides a mix of magical Mestizo folklore and accounts of migrants escaping from forced labor in Guatemala at a time before the arrival of automobiles. There is mention in Old Benque of the Xtabai as well as a tragedy in Don Agustin’s family. To reflect the mood of the time, BRC Printing has patronized the printing of four commemorative stickers from Old Benque, for which the profits will be going towards the Pallotine Centennial Memorial Fund; to commemorate the contributions of the Pallotine Sisters to education. These stickers are now available for $1.00 each at the Benque House of Culture.
“The greatest contribution that a Country can make is to invest in its people, it is not only the work of the State, the onus is all on us, we need to invest time, it’s not only money, mentoring…parents sitting with their children, grandparents with grandchildren, teachers investing in young people,” says David Ruiz, who also did his part on Friday to read from his first book, Old Benque, to standard six students from the Mount Carmel Primary School.
The renowned author’s message to those who want to take up the art of writing, “They need to read and become good at the art of writing, the grammar is important in an age that does not encourage reading.”
Some of the sponsors for the Old Benque Anniversary Travelling Exhibition are NICH, Grand Belize Estates, the Poustinia Foundation as well as Mrs. Pamella Picon. The Patron for the exhibition that has been well attended so far is Cubola Productions.The Guardian