From Quaint Village to Visitors' Paradise

oday only the voting population of San Pedro is about 2,400. There are 800 children in the elementary schools and-another 200 at high school and 200 of kindergarten age. There must be another 200 below kindergarten age and another 200 babies in arms. There are easily another ION non registered iinhabitants from Central America and U.S. residents bringing our total population to some 5000 persons.

Twenty five years ago, or perhaps 40 years ago, the population of San Pedro was a mere four to five hundred. Everyone knew one another by name, nickname, and personal business. Passing by someone without greeting him with a "hello" was either a sign of being in a bad mood or some developing dispute (probably a gossip as always.)

When Father Razskowski visited us once a month in the 1950's, he and the late Peter Hancock joked about the idea of who knew more San Pedranos. San Pedro was such a small and united community that one man's joy was joy to all and one man's grief was everyone's grief. When someone was born, the word spread around and everyone asked the dad when he would "give the wish". This meant a round of beers as cigars are given in other countries. There were about four to five births every year. Also when there was a death on the island everyone grieved. If there was any planned festivity like a party or a wedding, it would be postponed with due respect to the bereaved family. There was a death every three or four years. This was the spirit of caring that existed back then.

Today our population is that of a booming little town as compared to the quaint little fishing village. If one would sit on his verandah, one would greet two San Pedranos and then ten others would pass by.

The point here is that in some ways it was better twenty five years ago. Because we knew one another, we cared more. Anybody could leave his house unattended without fear of someone breaking in. We could sleep with wide open wooden windows without fear of theft or assault or some other crime. Children could play in the middle of the the streets. They could stay a little late in the dark and no one feared. One could even leave his laundry on the clothesline without the fear of losing his precious flour bag bleached underwear. Uncles and aunts could scold their nieces and nephews on the streets or even give them a little lashing. The villagers joined in "faginas" or workathons to clean streets, rake beaches or chop the weeds at the cemetery.

Yes, 400 inhabitants of some 50 families made up a unified community. The people of San Pedro typified a song we were taught by our Garifuna teachers.

"No man is an island
No man stands alone.
Each man's joy is joy to me.
Each man's grief is my own."
Yes, it was a small population and everyone's business was the topic of gossip. But everyone cared! Today our San Pedro is a visitor's paradise and still there is a lot of gossip. But NOT EVERYONE CARES for one another simply because not everyone knows

you. Please go make yourself known and be friends to all.

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