Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Churchill Gillett, Whitfield Gillett, Johnny Gillett and Merdant Tillett at the 2008 CTV Reunion

The Planning Committee of the Crooked Tree Village Reunion is please to inform you of the survey results. The last weekend in the month of May 2011, Memorial Day weekend, was selected as the most favorable time to have the second edition of the Crooked Tree Village Reunion.

In preparation for this magnificent event, the Planning Committee, (US and Crooked Tree Village) will be providing you with more information in the months ahead. You will not want to miss this Reunion, this is the time when we honor our heritage, pay special tribute to our ancestors and re-connect with our loved ones.

We look forward to your divine presence at The Crooked Tree Village Reunion 2011.


Total Responses: 150                                                      
When do you want us to have the 2011 reunion?                             

Easter Weekend                                                                         31%                 47
Memorial Day Weekend:End of May                                42%                64
First Weekend in August                                                       26%                39

Monday, March 29, 2010


Spring is in the air, and for Jews all over the world this means the Holiday of Passover.

Passover is the holiday that commemorates the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt after long years of slavery, as described in the Book of Exodus in the Torah. On the evening of the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, which falls this year on March 29th, 2010, Jews all over the world will begin to celebrate Passover. The holiday is celebrated for seven days.

During Passover Jews celebrate freedom in various symbolic ways. The Torah commands that the Jewish people tell the story of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt to each generation, so that they will learn and appreciate the power of God.  To fulfill this obligation, Jewish people all over the world hold a ritual feast on the first night, and in the Diaspora a second night. This night is called Leyl Haseder, meaning order or arrangement where families and friends gather around the table to read the Haggadah, the book telling the story of the liberation from slavery in Egypt.

Haggadah (הַגָּדָה) means “telling” and reading this book fulfills the Biblical commandment to “tell your sons and daughters” about the liberation from slavery in Egypt. The Haggadah serves as an organized guide for the Seder, which is performed in much the same way all over the world.

The Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating Matzah (מַצָּה unleavened bread) and other symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate. During the Seder, Jews study the meaning of the different passages and sing Passover songs.  As the significance of the Seder is to teach the younger generation about the Exodus, there are different parts that help keep the crowd interested and alert: There are four questions that the children ask during the Seder and the adults answer, and there is a Passover version of a treasure hunt with an expectation for reward, that keeps all the children enthusiastic throughout the Seder. 

One of the most important figures of the story of the Exodus story is Moses (מֹשֶׁה)-the leader and prophet, who communicated God’s words and miracles to the Children of Israel, and to the world. Interestingly enough, his name is mentioned only once or twice in the Haggadah. The most common explanation for this minimal recognition of his role is the idea that the deliverance from Egypt was purely a divine happening.

Moses’ biography, as told in the Torah is fascinating. His whole existence is miraculous, and the long life he lived, as well as the roles he fulfilled have special significance to the history of the Jewish nation.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Corozal Town, Belize 27 March, 2010
Some 10,000 spectators from all over Belize crowded this normally sleepy town bordering Mexico to see upstart new comers Corozal Community College dethrone former champions Succotz Festival Band to take title of Overall Winner in the Wind Instrument Category.

Placing second as Overall Winner was four-time consecutive winner the Succotz Festival marching band, with another band from the same village located in western Belize, the Western Xunan band won third prize. Various other sub-prizes included the Drumline Contest won by south side Belize City based St. Luke Methodist Band, and the Drum Corps Marching Band competition won by another Belize City band Holy Redeemer - the defending champion. Pictured #1: Overall Winner Corozal Community College.
From the outset the Corozal Community College outclassed its competitors with beautifully color coordinated uniforms of white and pastel green and excellent music and choreography. The defending and dethroned champions Succotz Festival just did not get it in uniforms which appeared dark and drab and while the music was excellent, the choreography could not compete with the CC C's bold movements on the street parade and the stadium competition.

For one day, Corozal Town more resembled its bustling and giant neighbor Chetumal, in neighboring Quintana Roo, Mexico with thousands of visitors pouring into the town from all over the country, leading to traffic jams and the cordoning off of main streets. The participating bands started their parade at Santa Rita Hill on the northern entrance to Corozal, headed to the Miami Beach recreational area, then swung unto the town's commercial centre and park at Forth Avenue before entering the Santiago Ricalde Stadium for judging and award of prizes. Picture #2: Western Xunan - third prize Overall Winner.

Among those presenting prizes were the Governor General Sir Colville Young and local politicians. The event is an annual commercial enterprise operated by the country's largest radio station Love-FM.  

 (Via Belizean.comM.A. Romero is a Belize based writer and photojournalist and Managing Director of Ltd. The company's main web site is at  

Friday, March 26, 2010


Tomorrow, March 27, 2010 at 8:30 p.m., 1 billion people in over 120 countries and 1700 municipalities will come together to make a change by turning off their lights for one hour-Earth Hour- to help save our planet.

I believe that each of us can make a positive impact to fight climate change. By coming together, we can send a message to the rest of the world showing that we, as Americans, care deeply about this issue and are working to find a solution to our escalating climate change.
Many of us are aware of the effect melting glaciers are having towards change and erratic weather patterns. Climate change is already impacting life on our planet; we must act now to alter the course of change.

Many cities around our planet have already committed to “Earth Hour” 2010. Some of the cities in the U.S. that will be participating are New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, and Nashville. We will join cities of the world like London, Paris, Copenhagen, Moscow, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Dubai.

Many organization, NGO’s, astronomers, celebrities, and recording artist are also endorsing Earth Hour.

Earth Hour was first celebrated three years ago in Sydney, Australia. There 2.2 million people and thousands of businesses turned off their lights for one hour. In March 2008 an estimated 36 million Americans, with over 500 cities participated worldwide.

Earth Hour captured the lights going out at some of the world’s most iconic landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Times Square, Empire State Building, The Eiffel Tower, and The Coliseum in Rome, Burj Khalifa and many more.

Do your part by linking this article to Earth Hour’s community on your social network site like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Hi5. 

You can learn more


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Principal Ann Coleman with some of her students
A few months ago in Belize I travelled along the unpaved road to visit the San Felipe Government School. The village of San Felipe is small, poor and in a remote area of the Toledo District. I was met at the school by Principal Ann Coleman. In rural Belize, as in most developing countries, life can be very unstable and getting an education can be the key to your survival or a route out of poverty.

San Felipe Government School has done wonders since 1979. According to Principal Coleman and village elders, the first school in San Felipe began back in 1979 and was called San Felipe Roman Catholic School. It was under the management of the Catholic Mission and the Catholic Jesuits of Belize. The small one room wooden structure had a thatched roof and at the time, housed 50 students and two teachers.

With the growth of the village and the student population, the villagers saw the need for a new school building. They sought help from the Government of Belize and in 1990 a new concrete three-room building with a separate kitchen was erected across the road. The new school opened with a new name, San Felipe Government School with 65 students and three teachers. 

From 1990 to 2007, the population of students increased to over one hundred and some class rooms were overcrowded. With this increase, a number of students were in a multi-grade setting. For the new school year in 2007, San Felipe School opened with an additional two class rooms and a five teacher staff. The principal said that “we now have five rooms, but we are still a bit overcrowded.

These classrooms have concrete floors, beautifully decorated, and painted plastered walls, louvered windows, and indoor bathrooms.  The windows and doors are wide, whilst keeping the rooms well aired. The classrooms are clean and thus help to improve the health of the children.

Although the five classrooms school does not provide all the required supplies and materials of a school in the city, it gives the community sufficient boost to enable them to further develop the school in the future. In addition Principal Coleman said the school placed great importance on the provision of clean drinking water and a kitchen for preparing snacks for all the children.

Principal Anna Coleman said” I would like to continue to devote my life to helping to create a more just Belize through education”

The benefit of an education is the key to making our world a better place. 
To get to San Felipe Village: From all points north, take the Southern Highway towards Punta Gorda until you arrive at the junction locally known as 'Dump'. There will be a gas station on your right. Make a left here and drive about four more miles until you see signs for Barranco Village and the San Felipe Road (identified with signposts to the Sarstoon Temash National Park, and signs for Tranquility Lodge and Cotton Tree Lodge). Turn onto this unpaved road and drive approximately 2 miles to reach the village of San Felipe.
Village Center

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


As Belizeans we have all had direct or indirect contact with one of the different Mennonite communities of Belize. They are known to hold fast to their culture and strict beliefs while they assist in the industries of commerce, carpentry, engineering and agriculture.

Due to persecution, the Mennonites migrated from Holland to Germany to Prussia and eventually to North America. About 3,000 Mennonites finally relocated to Belize in 1959 along the Rio Hondo (Orange Walk District), in search of a life free of religious persecution and the pressures of modern society.

They signed a special agreement with the Belize Government which exempt them from military service and certain forms of taxation while guaranteeing them complete freedom to practice their own religion and farm within their closed communities. They also freely practice their own form of local government and run their own schools and businesses. Their unique dialect a mixture of Dutch and German has persisted the 400 years since this move and is still spoken in the Mennonite communities of Belize.

While stricter Mennonites still hold true to the belief that modern machinery contaminates their faith, more progressive divisions have incorporated engines and electricity into their lives.

I had the opportunity recently to visit Shipyard one of the traditional Mennonite communities and also one of the oldest in Belize. Shipyard is reached via the Guinea Grass road that turns off the Northern Highway just south of Orange Walk Town; approximately one hour’s drive.

Shipyard was founded in 1958, the first year of Mennonite migration to Belize. Shipyard covers 17,083 acres, comprising twenty-six local districts, which are called camps. In 2004 the internal Shipyard census mentions 2664 inhabitants. They refrain from using modern farm equipment and drive horse-drawn buggies.  On the fields they use tractors with steel wheels, because rubber tires are forbidden. They also have a strict clothing code, which makes them very visible outside their settlement.  . Most still resemble blond German farmers; the men in dark trousers, suspenders, and straw hats and the women in conservative long plaid dresses and bonnets.
Shipyard is an agriculturally based settlement; the land is rather flat and cultivated land alternate with pasture land. The primary crops are sorghum, corn and rice. They also produce tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, sweet peppers and other vegetables. Livestock is also a major source of income, there are also several sawmills that provide lumber for houses and furniture. Carpenters and blacksmiths, several retail stores and two dentists are also part of the settlement.  
Waiting Shipyard Limo!

By Dr. Jane Crawford
Image credit: Dr. Jane Crawford

Monday, March 22, 2010


 Back L-R:  Rodwell Conorquie, Shane Westby,  J. Gillett II,  Arturo Wade, Kenna Dawson,    Heckland Adolphus,  Reynard Tillett,  Darrell Tillett
Middle L-R:  Alvin Tillett,  Kevin Tillett,  Landis Wade,  Eldon Wade
Front L-R:  Alpheus Gillett,  Howell Gillett,  Varon Westby,  Brandon Lewis,  Akeem Tillett
                                           Click on photos to view
The new Brilliant Cricket Team of Crooked Tree Village, defending champion of the Belize 
 Rural Cricket Championship Trophy for three years in a row, and the only team ever to register three consecutive championships title.

The Belize District Cricket Association and Elihue Bonner is taking this opportunity to announce that Brilliant Cricket Team is under new management. Darrell Tillett is now the manager, and Elston Wade, the President of Belize National Cricket Association. 

The new uniforms were purchased with donation from villagers and through the assistance of John Gillett II.

On Saturday, March 20th Brilliant hosted Surprise of Lemonal Village. Surprise batted 173, and Brilliant 149 all out.
Rodwell Conorquie preparing to bowl.......

ball is on the way........

Howell Gillette at bat

Surprise at bat......

Reynard Tillett hitting a four......


Brandon 'Fudd' Lewis

All photos by Janine Tillett

Monday, March 15, 2010


Crooked Tree elementary school students have excelled in sports, winning the Belize Rural Softball Championship two years in a row, and now the school is celebrating yet another accomplishment, the National Coca Cola Spelling Bee Zone One Champ.

The 2010 Spelling Bee for the Belize District Zone One elimination was held on February 17th in Ladyville Village. The Spelling Bee had the participation of seven schools in this zone, which included Ladyville Evangelical, Ladyville Roman Catholic, Ladyville Seventh Day Adventist, Biscayne Government School, Pancotto Primary School (Sandhill), Guadalupe Roman Catholic School(Sandhill) and Crooked Tree Government School.

The Spelling Bee was tightly contested, and at the end of the day, Megan Gillett of Crooked Tree School, the youngest participant, was declared the winner. Megan Gillett, an eight grader, at only 10 years old, won over all the students from Zone one in the Belize District.  Megan will be going on to the District Finals on April 23rd, where she will meet the other winners from Zone two to Zone eight, there will be a total of 16 spellers,  all the first and second place winners from each zone. At the end of the day, the two top spellers will represent the Belize District at the national finals in June, where each district will also be showcasing their two top spellers.

The Coco Cola Spelling Bee started in 1995, making this year the fifteenth consecutive competition. Nick Pollard a Bowen and Bowen executive states: “Over the last three years it did become more exciting because the Ministry of Education came in with us and they offered a tuition scholarship which included books for four years to the first place winner, second place gets two years and the third place gets one year. Last year we introduced the laptop computers to the first and second place students and they were very excited over this new innovative idea and so we’re going to continue that into 2010. The first place winner gets a laptop and his/her school gets a fully loaded desk computer.”

Other prizes include dictionaries.  This year will also mark the fourth year the finals will be held outside of the Belize district.  The grand finale will be held on June 6th at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Orange Walk Town.  This year approximately five hundred children are participating in the thirty nine zone eliminations.  Organizers of the competition are releasing a news letter to assist teachers and students with spelling study tips and logistic information about the 2008 competition. 

Congratulations to Crooked Tree Village Government School for a job well done and cheers to the principal, teachers and parents who taught and assisted the students, as well as other volunteers from the community. Megan Gillett is the daughter of Clarence and Winnie Wade Gillett.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Front Row (L-R) Daniella Lightburn, Elma Wade, Zipporah Taylor, Sherelee Adolphus, Jessica Gillett
Back Row (L-R) Roshanie Tillett, Tara Tillett, Lennisha Gillett, Starlee Gillett, Zhanae Jex, Tromeisha Tillett, Jasmine Lauriano 
Coaches: (L) Anna Gillett  (R) Alden Wade

Winning the Belize Rural Softball Championship for girls is a big deal, but winning it twice in a row is epic. The Warriors of Crooked Tree Village took their title with relative ease, winning three games in a row, and claiming the crown for Crooked Tree School once again.  

On March 10th, 2010 the first game of the marathon was held at the Cashew Festival Grounds in Crooked Tree against Lucky Strike, and apparently they were not lucky enough for the Crooked Tree Warriors. Zhanae Jex was the first to bring in the runs for the Warriors, and Lucky Strike quickly surrendered 6-1.  

In the second game, Double Head Cabbage was “slammed and demolished” by the Warriors with a 23-0 victory. Warriors struck them all out, and Jasmine Lauriano shut them down with the most runs scored in the marathon.

And like true champions, the Warriors rose to the occasion, got all the necessary hits with an impressive offensive, and wrapped up the series by toppling Burrell Boom, 11-2, to win the Belize Rural Championship Title.

An award ceremony was held immediately following the conclusion of the game. Players on the teams were presented with individual ribbons, and first and second place trophies were given to the teams. The trophies and ribbons were handed out by Mr. Stanley Reneau of the Belize Sports Council.

With the championship title, the Warriors earned the BRSC automatic qualification into the Belize City teams, and if they prevail, they will advance to the finals, the Belize National Championship. Pairings will be announced in April.
Coach Alden Wade and Anna Gillett said that with the shutout of Double Head they were ready to seal the deal. But Wade also said that it was a group effort, “our team this year was awesome, we played hard and everyone was feeling hot! Hot! Hot!
Two of the most successful softball coaches in Crooked Tree Village of all time, Alden Wade and Anna Gillett shares how their team practices during the season to produce the results. The coaches said their victory is the direct result of diligence, hard work, and well thought out practice sessions.  If you want to win you need a checklist of drills to add to your practice. The drill that we used is comprehensive and focuses on hitting, base running, pitching, throwing and catching, and infield and outfield defense.

The Principal of Crooked Tree School, Verla Jex, teachers, Winnie Gillett and George Tillett are extremely proud of their girls and the lessons of hard work and determination they taught them. They would also like to thank the coaches, Alden Wade and Anna Gillett for their time, valuable team work, and efforts spent during the year. Last, but not least, they would like to thank all the villagers who donated funds during their fund raising drive.

Principal Jex said that many of the children and their families could not afford the uniforms required for the team, but is extremely grateful for BZ$1000; donated by villagers to help with uniforms and supplies.

If anyone from abroad would like to match the funds donated by the villagers or contribute in any way to the team’s fund raising efforts can contact her at:

Principal Verla Jex
Crooked Tree Village School
Belize District, Belize 
Central America

Your contributions would be very much appreciated!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A short 33-mile trip north of Belize City, and a two-mile drive over the causeway, off the Northern Highway, leads you to an oasis teeming with life. And sandwiched between six lagoons  lies Crooked Tree Village, the largest inland wetlands of Belize. The village of narrow sandy roads are lined with cashew trees, and a variety of tropical fruits. 

During the dry season, the lagoons shrink in size creating a high concentration of fish, and providing  a banquet for thousands of birds to feast, including the famous jabiru stork, the King of the land. 

Crooked Tree Village is one of nine national parks and nature preserves co-managed by the government of Belize and Audubon Belize. It is one of the best places in Belize to see rare birds and mammals in the wild. 

But no matter what time of the year,  a trip to Crooked Tree is always a pleasant experience with friendly people, and natural beauty.

Monday, March 8, 2010



 The La Ruta Maya is a grueling 180 mile canoe race held every year to coincides with the Ninth of March Baron Bliss holiday in Belize. The race made its debut on March 9th, 1998.  It takes four days from the historic Hawksworth Bridge (the only suspension bridge in Belize) in San Ignacio to the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. 

This race was the idea of the local Cayo Tropical Fruits Ltd (producers of Big H fruit juices, Vida Purified water and Mamita milk).Canoe teams are sponsored by various businesses and educational institutions. The eight divisions for the race include male, female, mixed, masters, dory, intramural, pleasure craft and family adventure race.
This year, the race started on Friday, March 5th at 7 a.m.  between the towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena under the Hawksworth Bridge, 40 feet above the crossing of the Macal River, and consists of 4 stops before the final dash down the Belize River to Belize City. Each evening for 3 nights, participants in the race, their families, relatives, friends and supporters camp out on the bank of the Belize River to cheer on their favorite teams. This year 89 teams are participating with paddlers from Belize, U.S.A, Canada, Japan, Australia and the U.K.

Along the entire route of the race hundreds of Belizean and visitors troop to the banks of the Macal and Belize Rivers to cheer on their favorite teams. There is music, foods and drinks along the river banks at each of the stops.

There are three night stops along the route; the first is the Banana Bank Lodge on the first night, Russel's Place in Bermudian Landing on the second night, and at Old River Tavern in Burrell Boom on the third night.
At the Riverside in Burrell Boom

The first canoes enter Belize City at about 10:00 am and the race finishes at the Belcan Bridge where cheering crowds await their arrival, where the celebrations continue at the Civic Center grounds. This day is known as El Dia Final. El Dia Final is a project organized and spearheaded by the Belize Tourism Board in an effort to culminate and celebrate La Ruta Maya River Challenge.

The general public is invited to this event to enjoy a fun filled day with food, live entertainment, games, prizes and surprises. Entrance to the grounds is free of charge but there will be gate prizes that everyone has an opportunity to win. The awards to the racers are issued at the official ceremonies which take place around midday. All the winners are presented with their awards and honored for their hard work and efforts.

There will be over $40,000… in cash and station prizes.

By Linda and Dr. Jane Crawford 
All photos by Dr. Crawford