As a tourist destination, Ambergris Caye becomes more popular every year. Visitors by the thousands flock to this island paradise full of beauty and entertainment. Many residents and businesses rely on this income and are striving to keep up with this influx of people. This growth in tourism forces the need for more hotels and restaurants, and also increases the requests for transportation by guests of our "jewel". This week, The San Pedro Sun features a gentleman who provides a smile, and a valuable taxi service to visitors and residents alike - Nicholas Acosta.
Nick, as he is known to most, was born on December 6th, 1962 and raised in Pomona Village in the Stann Creek District of Belize. One of twelve children, he grew up hunting and fishing, eventually leaving school to help run the family farm. At the age of 19, Nick left home and went to live in Ontario Village in the Cayo District. Attending church with his aunt, Nick became acquainted with the people from the local Christian children's home and went to work there as a handyman. Nick claimed the move to Ontario was a life-changing experience and spirituality became his new lifestyle. In fact, he met his wife, Emogene Rushford, while at church and married her only a year later on May 28th 1983. They are the proud parents of four boys: Mark (20), Nicholas Jr. (15), Byron (12) and Bryan (11).
Four years later, Nick and his family returned to Stann Creek where he learned all about the citrus industry, operating a tractor in the orange groves before a back injury forced him to quit. Returning to Cayo, Nick drove tanker trucks for Shell Oil for a brief time until a friend informed him of a better job. Nick, a descendant of Honduran and Mexican blood, spoke fluent Spanish and was hired as a driver for the United Nations High Commission of Refugees. For the next six years, Nick traveled to all districts of the country transporting people and delivering messages. He explained most of the refugees were fleeing the war in El Salvador, a very dangerous conflict at that time. Nick was able to meet all kinds of people from countries bordering Salvador and a few refugees from as far away as Africa. When the war ended, though, the office was closed and Nick was forced to look for a new line of work.
In the meantime, to help make end's meet, Nick's wife Emogene found herself a job as a cook in San Pedro Town. Nick remained on the mainland working as a truck driver until the children finished out the school year, and then moved the family to the island. Quite naturally, his skills as a driver and friendly personality led Nick to become a taxi driver. He said the two most famous people he has ever had the pleasure to drive were Prime Minister Said Musa and "some big shot from Shell Oil" who told him "there will never be an oil shortage - but the prices will increase".
Nick Acosta is a kind and courteous gentleman who appears to always be in a pleasant mood; the very finest qualities for a "mobile ambassador" to possess. Nearly four years have passed since Nick and his family moved to San Pedro. An avid football fan, he says what he enjoys best about San Pedro are the sea breezes, his church family and the friendly people of the island. Nick made the move to San Pedro Town nearly four years ago seeking additional income for his family but also found a home. He stated he will return to the mainland someday, to his house and land in Cayo. Until that time he is happy to live right here on Ambergris Caye, "serving the Lord and the people of 'Our Community'".