By Angel Nuñez
This aerial shot of the village of San Pedro came about one hundred years after the Mestizo Indians first settled in village in 1948. This is about 1955 when the village men were doing subsistence fishing and before the founding of the fishing cooperative. My comments will take you through some of the main houses and names of the village at the time.
House No. 1 This was the vacation property of Lucilo Ayuso, a businessman from Belize City, His son, Libby Ayuso, was a well known oculist/optician and friends with all of San Pedro. A well kept house and a large yard and pretty fence tells us that this was a well off family. This house was the only one that remained standing on the beach with Hurricane Hattie in 1961. After the hurricane of 1961, The Ayuso’s purchased the lot behind them and became owners of the entire little block. Today that entire property is the site of Spindrift Building. Notice the pile of coconuts in No. 1 b. This tells us that Mr. Adolfo Ayuso, who used to own that property, was a coconut farmer.
Spindrift Hotel Today
Building No. 2 This was and still is the Seventh Day Adventist Church of the village. On occasions when there was a teacher available, the church was also used as a school for some 15 children only. This building also fell to the wrath of Hurricane Hattie but with pieces here and there, it was rebuilt and expanded as it is today. Notice the narrow lane between buildings No. 1 and No. 2. It was at least 10 to 12 feet wide but it has become narrower today with the construction of Spindrift Building.
Building No. 3 This building is difficult to spot because the rusty roof camouflages in the background. Besides the primary school on the beach, this was one of the longest buildings in the village. It was the property of Don Francisco “Pancho” Nuñez, who was the father of Fido Nuñez, Frank Nuñez, Duffy Nuñez, and Mrs. Victoria Nuñez Villanueva. Don Pancho Nuñez lived there and he also had one of the finest stores in San Pedro which we all knew as la Tienda de Don Pancho. Victoria Nuñez Villanueva eventually owned that property and operated it along with her husband Antoño Villanueva. Their son Ramon Villanueva Nuñez was raised here as a child and the entire family moved over to Belize City when Ramon was ready to start high school. For some reason or the other, after Hurricane Hattie, which flattened the building, they did not claim rights to that property which eventually became government property, and the San Pedro Community Center was built there. The community center eventually became San Pedro High School in 1971, and when they moved out in 1987, it was transformed into the San Pedro Town Hall. Kindly note that Don Pancho was brother to Mr. Cruz Nuñez, who was dad to that entire large Nuñez Family of nine boys and one girl that predominated in San Pedro for many years.
San Pedro High School in 1971
House No. 4. Let’s look at one more house in this historic little yet giant village. This was the home of Mr. Victor Lara and there was something very special about this family. He was a coconut farmer like many others, but he was San Pedro’s most talented bone healer. Any dislocation of the body, from the toes, the ankle, knee, leg joints, fingers, elbow, wrist, back, neck, shoulder, don Victor Lara, who his friends called Bata, could heal. Now Don Victor was married to Mrs. Cecilia Guerrero Lara. And who is she? She is San Pedro’s only living centenarian and she lived a great part of those one hundred years in this humble home No 4. That means that some well known folks like Gach Lara (+), Tuli Lara, Sylvia Lara Gonzalez, Manuela Lara Guerrero, and Elsa Lara Valdes, also lived part of their live in this humble house in the village.
Twenty Five Years Ago salutes all of the above for their contributions to San Pedro from a humble village of coconut farmers and fishermen to Belize’s tourism mecca.
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today Online Newspaper -Jose Luis Zapata Photography –Lala’s Store -Pampered Paws -San Pedro BTB Office -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush, A & R
Contact the Author at: [email protected]