Close your eyes for the fifth week to enjoy some great Belizean memories, especially those that lived in San Pedro. I am talking going way… way…way back not just thirty but fifty and sixty years ago. I am talking about the time when the infamous Charlie price infested the homes and warehouses in Belize City and we fought hard to prevent their coming to San Pedro. Charlie Price were huge (almost giant) rats measuring about ten inches in body length and about twenty from head to the tip of the tail. They were five times larger than the mice we had in San Pedro and we made sure boxes coming from the City in The Elsa P. or any fishing boat was inspected before taken home.
Remember we used to tease that the cats were afraid of these Charlie Price rats. The one or two gringos that saw these rats used to say that you could put a saddle on a Charlie Price and enter it into the Kentucky Derby.
Our way of fighting rats was with the spring rat trap, but we kids had fun hunting and chasing them and when cornered we would spear them. Spearing any rat brought cheers of triumph and perhaps more joy than spearing a grouper or jewfish. Remember that guys?
Remember those days when people from the ministry of health used to come regularly to San Pedro to spray all houses in the village to kill the pestiferous rats? And they also used to spray to kill roaches. Their spray left a while film over all the walls for about a week and moms used to be afraid to even used the cooking pots for fear of this spray which was thought to be a strong poison.
Oh yeah, there were lots of government people coming to San Pedro for health reasons. I wish they would come often today. Remember when it was mosquito season? With the intent of preventing malaria, health officials used to come regularly to spray all yards and areas that were swampy around the village. And they made property inspections scolding and threatening those whose villagers whose lots were dirty or overgrown with bushes. Wish they would do that today.
And remember the nurses coming to give castor oil to all school children? Ugggg! Uffff! How awful, but how necessary! Don’t know if castor oil was meant to kill the ring worms or the people.
So much for the good old health officials bringing joy to San Pedro and good old memories to all of us today. Until next week, have pleasant memories of our good old San Pedro.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist