Paisano and his daughter Niamath.
Paisano with Barefoot Skinny (Tim Budd), 1999, photo by Jan Lyons.
Photo courtesy Gaz Cooper.
Paisano, aka Habib Hajara
It ain't the same around here without you.....
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I remember one time he borrowed my bicycle.never thought he will come back but he did! He talked some french too.
He came in my shop one day and sat down. Started singing a love song in Arabic. He sure was a character. I'm sure there are hundreds of stories about Paisano.
I remember dropping $20 on the beach outside Ramon's, (1994 ish) he picked it up and called me back, handed it to me and told me to "watch the hole in my pocket". I told him to keep it, he said he just wanted $5...I know people now who wouldn't even let you know you dropped a dollar never mind $20... A true character with some great stories.
Remember his little boat? He had it tied up in the mangroves south in the cut. If you could call it a boat. It floated.
One time I was staying at Lilys with Mervin Key (hole in the wall), and we let Paisano and Richie stay in our rooms when we were out all day. When we came back in the evenings, we had a nice chat, and we got our rooms back and they wandered off, to return the next morning when we went out. Repeat! Dan (think custard) was so pissed cause I had brought him a six pack of Pepsi, then not available in Belize and Richie and Paisano drank them all. Life is good...
I miss him because when he was alive things were simpler. He was a very intelligent person and the people who took the time to speak to him and listen would see that his wisdom was worth the time. He was taken advantage of and his money stolen, but he managed to be the most popular person on that island. Before he was a successful businessman who got screwed by the GOB. Sound familiar? He’s not the first and definitely not the last.
He used to take clothes put out on railings by the tourists at Ramons and try to sell them to me.
I love the way my Dad Paisano could just steal the tithings plate from the church and make it a banjo.
Francis Paul Ripp:
Paisano tried to sell me a very expensive camera onetime for almost nothing. When I asked if it were stolen he became indignant and said someone left it behind for him to find! I knew Paisano from the time he arrived on the island. I liked him and we always got along.
Paisano would jump on my golf cart and ask for a dollar - when I said I didn't have one he would immediately jump off. He also sold me one of my own conch shells.
First photograph by Kerry Curren, the rest by various folks,, the tall photo by Lane Llewellyn
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