Aldo Marin - "Self-made in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 27            June 29, 2000

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Aldo Marin Sr.

This month is usually the one when those studying in high school, junior college or university are rewarded for their efforts through graduation. These graduates will now go to work in the field they have chosen or studied. They deserve to be commended and congratulated. But in the past, these opportunities were not available, and many locals were forced to teach themselves what they wanted to learn. Many San Pedro individuals will go down in history for being committed to their careers regardless of the obstacles they encountered. This is the case of this week's personality whose sheer determination to make his dreams come true has gained him the recognition and respect of this community - Mr. Aldo Marin Sr. 

    On March 11th, 1939 Aldo was born to Inelda and Carlos Marin in the quaint fishing village of San Pedro. His childhood, he recalls, was one filled with lots of joy and much love from his parents, four brothers and three sisters.

    As was customary in those days, the only schooling available in San Pedro was elementary level. Upon completing his education, young Aldo joined his father in the work force to help with the family expenses. He first started chopping down jungle and clearing large parcels of land surrounding the town core. Payment for clearing a piece of land measuring 25 square feet was only 25 cents.

    Aldo then turned to the fishing industry which seemed more profitable. He partnered with a close friend of his and embarked on numerous trips from San Pedro to Copper Bank to sell fish. With the money they collected they bought large quantities of fruit and brought it back to the island to sell. He did this for two years, earning approximately $5 per week. Net fishing was Aldo's next option. Using large nets they fished for snapper and other fish, and stored them in large tanks to sell in Corozal. When the fishing cooperative was established, lobster became a more valuable and abundant source of income for the locals. Aldo decided to take a piece of this pie as well, and for five years spent many days at sea in places like Glover's Reef, fishing for lobster.

    On February 27th, 1965 he married Patricia Gomez, also of San Pedro Town, and together they have raised ten children: seven boys and three girls. After starting a family, he opted to discontinue his long fishing expeditions and instead fished in nearby waters around San Pedro to be close to his family. Aldo found that by making this choice, he had time to begin one of the projects he had wanted to do for a long time - building boats. Having seen a resident of San Pedro skillfully put a boat together was something he admired. Aldo's keen interest in this profession gave him the courage to start practicing on his own. Working in a small area of his back yard, using Mahogany wood, which at the time was inexpensive and abundant, Aldo started his new hobby. He recalls that, at first, he was not sure of what he was doing but his determination overcame all the obstacles and soon he achieved his desired objective. "I learned from my mistakes," Aldo commented. "Sometimes the wood would break or the skiff would come out crooked but I managed to learn from my faults." After much trial and error, Aldo's first homemade skiff was completed. The end product was admirable and the envy of the rest of the villagers. Shortly after, he started getting requests for his fine work. In time, it would only take him four to six weeks to complete a skiff. To date, Mr. Marin has built over fifty skiffs (14 to 26 feet long) and one sailboat. In addition to building boats, he is also a skillful self-taught upholsterer. If clients so desired, Mr. Marin would build a skiff complete with cushioned seats and canopy, which he personally sewed by hand. In an effort to provide a better living for his family, he also engaged in carpentry jobs and building houses, once again proving anything is possible if one is serious about succeeding.

    Another passion in Aldo's life has been and still is music. As a youngster he would get together with a group of friends to serenade the young ladies of San Pedro. Teaching himself to play, he soon became a master of the guitar and accordion. Aldo and his team eventually formed bands in San Pedro such as Los Malos and Conjunto Sargasso. Today, some of the same group of friends (Grupo Rompe Raja) still get together to play for special occasions. They were most recently reunited at the Millennium Celebrations where Mr. Aldo Marin was honored as the first shipwright in San Pedro. Aldo has also been a member of the San Pedro Lions Club for many years. Mr. Marin ended his conversation with the San Pedro Sun saying, "I am very satisfied with what I have accomplished. I wanted to learn to build boats and I did. I am very happy with what life has given me: a wonderful family and a comfortable life."

    Aldo Marin Sr. is more than an exemplary citizen of San Pedro. He has been a great provider to his family and has mastered many arts: fishing, boat building, upholstery, carpentry and music. Especially through his boat-building skills, has helped keep opportunities for others "afloat" in "Our Community."
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