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Tough Times, Good Times in San Pedro as a Village

By Angel Nuñez

Everyplace you might live in has its tough times and its good times.  Every generation has its tough times and its good times.  Our old San Pedro since it was founded by the Mestizos in 1848 also has had its memorable times- good or bad

Good Times: SWIMMING  Kids living in San Pedro in the 1950’s had no problem choosing their favorite swimming spots. There were beautiful swimming spots all over the beach.  However, they had their own private swimming spot which was called a kraal. It is like an aquarium built in the sea, so it could also be called a seaquarium. (see picture above)  Every day in the afternoon you could find some 10 boys and girls there but on Sundays it was common to have between 50 to 75 kids enjoying a refreshing swim in the kraal.  It belonged to a business lady from Belize City, but she did not mind us using it because the activity kept it clean and fresh.  This kraal felt like a swimming pool and we all felt so special, like the richest kids in Belize. We delighted in swimming and diving inside and outside and playing all sorts of games in the sea. Truly those were good times!

Tough Times:  MAKING CORN TORTILLAS   Everybody likes hot corn tortillas but not everybody likes the preparations that go along with it.    First dad had to boil the corn to soften it one day in advance.  Early next morning before going to school the boys had to grind the corn with a hand mill, a process that we had to complete before going to school.  Then mom had to light the firewood to make coal which would heat up the large hot plate (comal).  Once she got it to the right temperature she would bake the corn tortillas on the comal. It probably took only half an hour to bake one or two pounds of tortillas, but what about all the preparations?  It’s funny but my kids grumble when they have to stand in line for ten minutes to get two pounds of tortillas at the factory.  Well, think of the two hour preparation to do the same thing in the 1950’s.  Truly those were tough times.

Tough Times and Good Times

Good Times:  FISHING FOR THE TABLE   We kids never considered fishing as a job or like work.  It was a fun thing- a hobby.  In the afternoon after leaving school, we got our bait, sardines or conch, and went to our favorite spot on the beach or the main pier or took a dory and just paddles three hundred feet off the beach. There was a slight adrenaline rush as we cast our lines at the perfect spot and waited patiently for the first bite, and then the first catch.  If it was a one pound snapper, there was a smile.  If it was a two pound snapper, there was joy and a reason to boast. If we wanted the fish for evening supper, we kept them on board.  If we wanted the fish for the next day’s meal, we placed them in a crocus bag in the sea to keep them alive overnight. Fishing on the beach was a unique fun experience. When we hooked a large fish, we opted to pull it in or to run up the beach dragging the poor fish up the beach too. Everybody laughed as this was one way to boast of a good catch.  I tell you, some kids liked fishing so much that they actually took their fishing lines in their pockets to school. Some kids even took their bait to school.  These were truly good times in San Pedro.

Tough Times and Good Times

Tough Times:  NO TOWELS   Imagine living during an era when there were no towels. They are so handy when preparing a meal, cooking, cleaning table, doing the dishes, and more so after taking a bath or shower. But in the 1950’s we did not have individual towels in the bathroom.  So how did we dry ourselves?  Don’t laugh but we literally used our mom’s or a sister’s discarded dress as a towel.  I remember fighting with my brother because he used my mom’s dress when he should have used our sister’s, which was his towel. It was tough because some dresses made of certain fabric just refused to dry one’s body. And some materials were just too tough and nobody wanted them.  Another one of those tough situations Years Ago in San Pedro.

Tough Times and Good Times


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