Monday, November 30, 2009


The Living Word Ministries Church
The last of the annual Harvest Festivals took place in Crooked Tree Village yesterday, Sunday, November 29th, 2009.
Harvest is an annual religious festival of thanksgiving. It is done in a spirit of fellowship. There are five churches in the village and the month of November is set aside as Harvest month. It started with the Church of the Nazarene and ended yesterday at the Living Word Ministries. Real community spirit is demonstrated when the members of each church visits and attends the others’ harvest celebration.  It is a time of fellowship and coming together; groups of volunteers from each church, led by their pastors decorate the churches and plan the events. This is also a good opportunity for family, friends and visitors to worship together and give thanks.

The local farmers come together to give thanks for a good harvest. The churches are decorated with the first crops of the season such as corn, rice, pumpkins, squash, sugarcane, banana, and oranges. There is also a variety of sweets and cakes on display. The children and young teens performed elaborate marches down the aisle in the church with their baskets laden with fruits, pastries, and cakes.  They then take center stage to recite poems of thanksgiving and worship.  The visiting congregation, also participate in the activity by sharing a song or a poem.

The Harvest Festival is also a good fundraiser for the church. The day following the Harvest, the pastor and committees will sell all the products that were on display. The Harvest and Thanksgiving represents one of the traditions of Crooked Tree Village.

Gabriel Crawford at Wesleyan Church of Corozal Town

(L) Kaylee Wade (R) Gabriel Crawford 

Photos by Dr. Jane Craword

Friday, November 27, 2009


Calvin "Sally" Gillett, Jr. Visiting with the neighbor in Crooked Tree Village. I tried to get closer to this beautiful animal, but he became agitated because of the clicking of the camera. A proud horse; he listens acutely to all the sounds around.

Lewis Cadle, the son of Mavis Cadle. Fresh chopped wood from the woods! Back in the days I didn't have the luxury of a wheel barrow to carry the wood. It was tied in a bundle and carry from the woods on my head.

Not many people in Crooked Tree Village cut and carry wood from the forest anymore. Do you think they are practicing sustainable logging or this way of life is no more?

Orvin Russell, the son of Samuel and Ada Rhaburn Russell. Carrying his share of wood!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Sasha Obama, the daughter of President Obama, looks at "Courage" the turkey. The president will pardon this turkey and send him to Disneyland to live out the rest of his life.

I was in New York just before Halloween and was surprised to see the Home Depot in Manhattan in full swing for Christmas. It seems that we can’t even wait for Thanksgiving anymore before starting the Christmas madness.

As you all know, the glittering lights and Christmas tunes have a certain effect on us that causes us to shop and spend a lot of money. With the economy in a decline, the holiday season is putting a lot of pressure on families this year. Before you set foot in the malls, please make a budget with details on how much you can afford to spend on everyone on your shopping list.

The best bet this year is to remove your credit card from your wallets, and withdraw the cash you plan to spend from your account.  For the kids, maybe the bookstore would be a good place to start. Let them choose their own book and explain to them that Mommy and Daddy can’t give them a whole lot this year.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and many of us will be celebrating and giving thanks for our family and our loved ones across America and in Belize.

May your Thanksgiving be full of blessings, grace, joy, peace and love!

Image by Getty Images

Saturday, November 21, 2009


 The home of Matilda Adolphus for over twenty years before the destruction by Muriel Tillett family on Nov 12, 2009. First it was the fence around the property, then the windows.

Disagreements and conflicts are a fact of life within communities and societies, and for the people who live and work in them. Disputes may be between neighbors, public government agencies or private industry. This is the story of one such conflict.

Rochelle Adolphus, her three brothers and a sister have lived on the seven acre ancestral land of her parents' in Crooked Tree Village all their lives.  Her house is surrounded by beautiful mango trees, avocado trees, oranges, and a large open field. Now it seems that they are about to lose a portion of the land that generations of the Adolphus’ have been occupying and living for over one hundred years.
(Top)Rochelle Adolphus, (L-R) Charles Adolphus, Horace Adolphus, and Walden Adolphus: The sons of Josiah Adolphus.
Josiah Adolphus
Many years back the patriarch of the family, Josiah Adolphus invited his sister Edith Adolphus Rowland to live on the land with him. Although Edith was told she could live on the property until she died, her daughter, Muriel Tillett is now claiming a portion of the land 32 years after Edith’s death.

In 1937 after living for years on the property, Josiah Adolphus purchased the land from Ann Henrietta Tillett Gillett.  This was before his sister Edith came to live with him on the land. The deed was issued in the name of Josiah Adolphus from the government of Belize for the parcel of land shown on the Registry map and was given a Registry number. Over all these years, the government registry for lands in Belize has records documenting Mr. Josiah as the owner of the property. How is it that 32 years after the death of Edith, Josiah’s name was removed from the files at the government’s registry?

The house of Rochelle Adolphus behind the mango trees.
The bar of Kenneth Bruce, the grand-son of Josiah Adolphus, he is been evicted from the Adolphus land also.
View from the north of the property

Muriel Tillett, the daughter of Edith filed trespassing claims in the Supreme Court of Belize against the children of Josiah and the judge handed a portion of the land over to her. Muriel Tillett, the daughter of Edith claimed that the land was given to her mother and they have proof that it was subdivided in 1947.

Rochelle Adolphus, the daughter of Josiah said “the land was never subdivided in 1947 or any other time by anyone. She said that after her father died in 1966, Edith and her family started to claim the land. The Tillett family said they have papers to the land, but ten years ago, there was no paperwork showing them on the land. Everything on their paper work is a lie; the Adolphus family is the owner of the land. And the land was handed over to the Tillett family illegally”.

Horace Adolphus, the son of Josiah said “In 1937 my father Josiah bought this land cash and it was deeded to him only; all the papers were in the government registry in his name. What I do not understand is why the government cannot protect land owners. Why are these people taking over? If the land was subdivided to them, why did they allow my brother Heckland Adolphus to build his house forty one years ago and my sister Matilda over twenty years ago on the land they are claiming. In my opinion, they are not telling the truth, something did not go down honestly! If I’m the owner of a property, in no way would I allow anyone to build on it”.

View from the south

The issue that is of great concern is the portion of land they are claiming has a permanent structure on it.  The home is occupied by Raquel Gomez, the great-grand-daughter of Josiah Adolphus.  This house was built twenty years ago. Raquel, a single mother, was forcibly evicted from her home and many of her personal belongings were burned or destroyed on Thursday November 12, 2009.
The majority of villagers in Crooked Tree Village is in an uproar over the decision and has come out to demonstrate in support of the Adolphus family.

Arthur Saldivar, the Attorney for Muriel Tillett’s family said’  “The matter had been first and foremost in the Supreme Court. This is a family feud so to speak over a portion of land that was divided by the patriarchs of the family some time ago; between grandparents of the parties that are now having this contention. One portion, a one point five acre portion, was passed down from Ms. Edith Rowland to her daughter Mrs. Muriel Tillett. That mater was decided in court since 1989 and subsequent to that another matter was brought. I don’t want to go into all that detail but simply to say that an action brought by the Adolphus’ to the Court of Appeal was abandoned at the eleventh hour and as we now speak, this is a settled matter where the inheritance of the Tillett family has been restored. The will of the court should be respected; the order of the court should be respected. I believe that what occurred yesterday was that the marshals went out to effect the court order and, as you are making me aware now, there was a contention over that. I find that to be somewhat shocking.”(Channel 5 Belize)

I would like to know what happens when removal of records are made under the Government’s watch? I can speak from experience that this is not the first time that land mis-deeds happen within the Department of Natural Resources in Belize. The only way to stop these kinds of illegal activity is to have real land reform in Belize.  

To be continued...

Photos by Dr. Jane Crawford and Laura Crawford

Friday, November 20, 2009


For most of the year, tiny Dangriga town is a slow-paced spot for fishing and citrus farming. But each November it provides the backdrop to Belize's flamboyant brand of Thanksgiving.

 Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates the arrival of this little-known ethnic group on Belizean shores. Week-long street parties, centered on epic drumming sessions, build up to their big day.

Then at dawn on November 19th, all-night revellers and early risers gather on the shore of North Stann Creek to witness boat loads of their brethren re-enacting the 1832 arrival of their ancestors.

During the landing, wayfarers beat bongo-style drums and bear aloft the tricolour flag of their people. Yellow represents their indigenous heritage, black their African roots and white the role of the British in determining their destiny.

 In the early 19th Century, British authorities forcibly exiled Garifuna people from the island of St. Vincent for resisting colonial rule. Those who survived settled in Central America.

Today's pilgrims carry coconut and palm fronds, representing the crops that sustained their forefathers on that original journey. The Garifuna account for just 6.6% of its population of 270,000.

The carnival continues once celebrants have paid homage to their ancestors and Christ. Dangriga elects its new beauty queen who leads the pageantry.

Local authorities invite participants from across the country to join the Settlement Day parade. Dragon-bearing Chinese dancers wind through Dangriga's street, while Miss Succotz represents the eponymous Mayan village in Western Belize.

For Gwen Nunez Gonzalez, a member of the National Garifuna Council, Settlement Day is an important tool for challenging discrimination against her ethnic group. She says it is an opportunity to "to show the contributions" of the Garifuna in Belizean culture.

  Music and dance of Garifuna origin predominate in Belize. The heavily sexual, pulsating rhythms of punta rock make the whole country bump and grind.

Former Unesco Secretary General to Belize, E. Roy Cayetano, describes Garifuna music as "healthy and going places"- but he warns that their language is "endangered".

When the streets clear and the festival floats are put away for another year, the work is not over. The Garifuna movement faces the challenges of keeping its linguistic riches alive for posterity.

Text and pictures by Kate Joynes-Burgess via BBC World News

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The Blissfulsage Foundation
In partnership with
The National Garifuna Council and The Andy Palacio Foundation
“Drums of My Fathers Gala”
A Tribute to Andy Palacio
At The Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga
Coconut Palm Room
Friday, December 4th, 2009

Dance the night away to music of :
The “Wagirale Band” and DJ Flames
Special Guest Appearances!!!

There will be a Silent and Live Auction!!!

Tickets are available at the Following Locations in Dangriga:
Pelican Beach resort-522-2044, Dangriga Cablevision-522-2096,
Gulisi Garifuna Museum-669-0639 and Ann Marie Mena (Independence)-602-0871

Join us in celebrating Andy’s legacy of love, leadership and Music!!!
Let us celebrate the progress that Andy has inspired!!!

Proceeds from this event benefits The National Garifuna Council, The Andy Palacio Foundation and the Blissfulsage Foundation’s work to preserve the Garifuna Culture and Keeping Andy’s Legacy Alive!!

Let’s Celebrate our Family, our Friend, our Hero!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today is a very special day. Guess whose birthday it is? Village View Post is 1 year old! That's right, I did it! That means it IS possible, and that also means YOU can do it too. After setting aside writing projects for years, half-finishing things and never sticking with anything for too long, I have managed to write and maintain this blog for an entire year. A whole year!

Writing can be a huge task, but it's not an impossible one. If you truly want to write, you need to sit down and just write. Don't let anything stand in your way, just write every day! Throughout the last year I have received a lot of encouragement and beautiful comments and I thank you all.

For those of you who just started reading this blog, welcome! I am so happy that you have joined me from all over the world as we continue our journey to find ways to bring you updated and relevant information on Crooked Tree Village, Belize and beyond!!

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, comments and post suggestions with me at:

Thank you all for reading; I appreciate having you all to share my BELIZE. 


Photo courtesy of:

Monday, November 16, 2009


Belize and Israel this morning signed a visa waiver agreement which, for a limited time, will allow residents of both countries to visit without requiring documentation or approval from the respective embassies. The move is geared towards strengthening the existing relationship between both nations with a focus on attracting business and other economic interests to Belize. Signing on behalf of the State of Israel was His Excellency Mattanya Cohen, while Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington signed for Belize.
Wilfred Elrington; Minister of Foreign Affairs
"This is a time when we are venturing into the world of trade and investment. It is a world that is really signaled by knowledge. It is driven almost exclusively by knowledge and the Israelis have proven themselves to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the world. They have done tremendous work in research and development in all areas of activity and we believe that Belize can only benefit from them"
In the past despite the lack of tourism by Belizeans to and from Israel visas had to be sought from Israeli consulates either in Guatemala or El Salvador. Cohen says the temporary elimination of this process should see some increase in the influx of Belizeans and Israelis to both countries.
Mattanya Cohen; Israel Representative
"I want to tell you that annually fifty of sixty Israelis visit Belize. I do not know how many Belizeans visit Israel but I know that it is also a very short number. This is mostly because of the VISA requirements Israelis did not come to Belize. I am talking about tourists and I want you to know that we have thousands of youngsters coming to Guatemala every year. They visit Guatemala but when they want to enter Belize they do not do that because of the VISA requirements so I am expecting that as a result of this agreement we will have more Israeli tourists in the beautiful country of Belize. The other thing I expect is for more Israeli businessmen to come here to Belize."
Israel, as a Middle Eastern Nation, also shares excellent foreign relations with other countries within Central America including El Salvador and Guatemala.

Source: Love

Saturday, November 14, 2009


A few months ago in Ethiopia, I was out shopping at Tewodros Square when I met a gentleman with long dreadlocks wearing a colorful knitted hat in the colors of the Ethiopian flag, which is more commonly represented as the Rastafarian hat.  He told me that he is from Jamaica, but has been living in Ethiopia for many years. I asked him if he missed Jamaica and he replied, “Noh man, Jamaica is a little island; mother Africa is a whole continent” He told me that he is a part of the Jamaican Rastafarian community devoted to Haile Selassie. 

The following day I put Shashemene on my to-do-list, and the following week my driver and I headed south to visit the famous Rastafarian town.  We sped along the road to Shashemene; my driver seemed tired and I offered to help him drive, but he said no. I told him I had driven all over the world,but he said if you hit a cow there would be a lot of problems. He also said that the Isuzu truck drivers powered themselves on Khat and that is too dangerous. Three and a half hours into our drive, I began wondering who the Rastafarians were and why on earth they had decided to move here. Basically all I knew was that they usually wore their hair in amazing dreadlocks.

Emperor Haile Selassie's Throne
The Rastafarians are a religious group that worships Haile Selassie I, king of kings, the former Emperor of Ethiopia, as God incarnate. The name Rastafari comes from Ras (Prince) Tafari Makonnen, Selassie's name before he became emperor. Haile Selassie, born July 23, 1892, is said to have traced his lineage back to Menelik I, whom many Ethiopians believed to be the offspring of King Solomon and the Queen of “Makeda” Sheba. Haile Selassie, known as the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, reigned in Ethiopia from November 2, 1930 – September 12, 1974.

The Rastafarian movement emerged in Jamaica among the working-class and peasants in the early 1930’s, who interpreted verses in the Bible in such a way that made them believe that Selassie was God. In the 60’s, Haile Selassie visited Jamaica and granted them 500 hectares of land in Ethiopia on which to settle in a small southern Ethiopian town called Shashamene. Since the first 12 Jamaican settlers in 1963, the community has grown to over 200 families. The Rastafari movement has now spread throughout much of the world, thanks mostly to the reggae music of Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley. By 2000, there were more than one million Rastafari faithful worldwide. About five percent of Jamaicans identify themselves as Rastafarian.
Despite a history of poverty and political problems, Ethiopia has long been regarded as thecultural capital of Africa. In 2005 a celebration, honoring the late reggae singer Bob Marley's 60th birthday, drew Africans from around the world; from Youssou N'Dour to Angelique Kidjo. Many praised Ethiopia, the country Marley honored in his songs. "Babylon is falling, Ethiopia is calling," a Jamaican reggae group sang at the festival and the Marley family, encouraging Africans living abroad to move here.
Emperor Haile Selassie Above and his Tomb
One reason the country holds emotional resonance for Africans is because, unlike its neighbors, it was never colonized and was able to retain its cultural and religious traditions. In Ethiopia it seem as though time is standing still; well, Ethiopians have their own way of telling time and their own calendar.