T wenty five years ago, there was no television in Belize, and of course none in San Pedro. All the "live" coverage of important world events, news, sports, debates, etc. were unknown to us. Yes, we did live in some degree of ignorance. All those great movies and soap operas (novelas) were out of our lives. Good or bad? If we lived in some degree of ignorance, at least we were also ignorant of A! crimes and drugs and sour dealings that are rampant on television these days also.
However, if television means entertainment, people 25 years ago did find great ways to be entertained.
A take the place of me movies, parents and the older folks entertained me kids with stories and fables,and myths. There were master story tellers of stories like El Duende, El Sisimito, La Xtabai, La Llorana, and Tata Balan. Not only did our folks repeat these stories in melodramatic form, but they often added or changed some points as the years went by. But most original, our parents assured us that they had seen or encountered these characters in the legends.
To take the place of the soap operas or TV novelas, there were the radio novelas. There were two or three radios in town I mean in the village, and operated cc loge 4" by 10" rectangular batteries which lasted for about three to four months. When the batteries became low, they were put out in the sun for some re-energizing. Besides being extremely expensive (four to five dollars) they were difficult to be obtained as they were sold only in the city which was visited once in a blue moon. Up to 20 kids, boys and girls, would suddenly pop up at "novela time" to enjoy such novelas like Tanganika, Cazan el Cazador, Tarzan de la Selva, Los 3 Villalobos, Kaliman or the love stories la Melania la Roja, or crucificada en su Dolar.
To take the place of TV sports and electronic games, we had "real sports." San Pedro boasted some of the nation's top teams in soccer and baseball. To -take the place of MTV and the music videos we all tried some real music. Consequently most boys could play the mouth organ or harmonica, do guitar or the banjo. Others specialized in the accordion or saxophone or even the trumpet. You see, many of these have been forgotten as younger kids only play the television and the CD's or compact discs.
So if we missed out on watching the World Cup in Soccer, we also missed out on big time drug_ operations. If we missed out on the top 10 songs or movies, at least we were catching up on some musical equipment or useful hobby. If we missed out on a presidential debate, at least we did not hear the mud slinging politics that goes on TV today. The absence of television was conducive to more united families, less crime and being more creative in our lives. No wonder San Pedro once boasted the number one orchestra or band in Belize. Village life was simple but by no means backwards.
YOU KNOW YOU ARE AN OLD TIMER SANPEDRANO IF:
As soon as I say, “Kaliman”, you know what I am referring to. Everyone used to look forward everyday to tune on your radio to enjoy different “radio novelas”. (radio soap opera) The boys rushed at 11:30 a.m. as soon as it was school lunch break to listen to an adventure series named “Kazan El Casador”. In the late evening about 7p.m. boys, men and women gathered around the radio to listen to Kaliman, an action packed story who dominated everything with the mind. But then of course, there were the dramatic stories for ladies like “Crucificada En Su Dolor. (Crucified In Your Own Pain).
The interesting part that I remember about gathering to listen to these radio serials was that no one dared open his mouth during these sessions. I think children learned to be quieter at these sessions than they did at school because if anyone dared make noise out of place, he was driven out of the house for the rest of that day. Interesting days on old San Pedro when there was no television and very limited entertainment.
Click and Listen to a Radio Novela of Kaliman -El Hombre Incredible!
Click and Listen to a Radio Novela of Kazan El Casador