Who says Friday the 13th isn’t an auspicious day?
Here in Belize, where things are sometimes done a bit differently, or contrary to ordinary as long-time resident, musician and lovable scofflaw Jerry Jeff Walker puts it, last Friday 13th 2013 was a good day indeed with the annual School Children’s Rally attracting bright young sparks and their teachers across the country.
First created as a vehicle to instill nationalistic sentiment in Belize’s youth just after independence, the event lives on as a day for kids to reflect on being Belizean.
In recent years the Belize City portion of the school gathering moved from the city centre to Bird’s Isle and this year to Parish Hall, where Belize’s education minister the Hon Patrick Faber officiated.
We won’t belabor our readers with Cha Creek’s well-known emphasis on education and the assertion that that the future of Belize lies in nurturing our children to become tomorrow’s leaders and environmental activists. The amount of school kids regularly seen at the Natural History Centre, Butterfly Farm, Maya Organic Farm, Rainforest Medicinal Plant Trail and other educational attractions, as well as the Eco Kids Educational Summer Camp owners Mick and Lucy Fleming sponsor each year speaks for itself.
And we’re not just waving the Chaa Creek flag here, because we’re certainly not alone in sponsoring youth development projects – the point is that kids, just like the elderly, have always had a more respected place in Belize society than in other parts of the world where life seems to begin at 18 and wind down after 40…
A case in point being the Annual School Children’s rally.
Out here in Cayo, cleaning up from the September 10 celebrations and preparing for Independence Day on the 21st, we missed Minister Faber’s speech, but 7 News Belize printed it, and we think it’s important enough, with thanks to 7 News, to reprint a part here:
“I am so very proud of all of you the children of Belize for staying in school and for taking the right path that will build Belize and make Belize truly a place where we will all be able to say that we love and we cherish although we already do that. We can make it even into a better place. Do you agree? Remember that Belize is counting on you to do your part to help us to build this nation. So don’t let anybody no matter who it is tell you that you are not good enough or that you are not smart enough or that you are not good looking enough to be whatever it is you want to be because one; you are Belizeans. Two; you are made in the image and likeness of God.”
So we’ll reiterate the Minister Faber’s statement to all Belizean school kids – we’re proud of you for staying in school. We know all about the temptations to take a day off and enjoy the stunning beauty that surrounds everyone here with some swimming or a bit of fishing or whatever. But the point is, our natural beauty, and the freedom to fully enjoy it into the future depends on you. Here in Belize we have a high literacy rate and an informed public so essential to a functioning democracy – and you kids are the key to keeping all that working. So please keep up the good work. We’re counting on you.