Education enlightens the mind but culture lives in the
heart and soul of every Belizean. This week the San Pedro
Sun presents a person that has devoted a great deal of her life
to the promotion of both - Mrs. Julia Martinez.
23rd, 1968 Julia was born in
the picturesque coastal town of Punta Gorda in the Toledo District. Her parents
Marcelina and Estevan Nuñez, were fine examples to their ten children, seven
daughters and three sons, and this was soon reflected in Julia. She excelled at
St. Peter's Claver Elementary and then at Toledo Community College, graduating
in 1986. Having completed her secondary education, Julia was convinced she
wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a businesswoman.
Nevertheless, her plans took a different course as she first accepted a teaching
job and found she enjoyed this occupation immensely. Ms. Julia, as she is
referred to now, discovered this profession gave her much satisfaction and she
decided to stay with this field. She devoted the first four years of her
teaching career to the Maya and Ketchi Indians of San Jose Village and San Pedro
Colombia, two remote areas in the Toledo District. This particular part of her
life filled her with a great sense of accomplishment and a feeling she had made
a difference in the lives of these people. Teacher Julia then moved to Belize
City where she taught at St. Martin's Elementary School for the next two years.
Amidst all these events, Ms. Julia joined her life in
marriage to Franklin Martinez of Punta Gorda on December 29th, 1990. Together they have established
their home in San Pedro and have a lovely daughter Tisane, now six years
In 1992, Ms. Julia accepted a teaching position in San
Pedro. She immediately fell in love with the island, the school and the
students, and decided to make San Pedro her home. It has now been nine years
that Ms. Julia has given unselfishly of herself to the students of San Pedro
Roman Catholic School. To improve her teaching techniques, Teacher Julia has
enrolled in a number of summer courses and computer classes in Belize City, as
well as volunteer training, in subjects dealing with children. Ms. Julia sits on
the Board of Directors of San Pedro Roman Catholic School as a staff member.
Teacher Julia has gained a lot of popularity with the students and parents
because of her caring and pleasant personality. She has developed very creative
classes, capturing the student's interest in her various
Ms. Julia has also made a
lasting impression in San Pedro by enlightening the locals with her rich
Garifuna culture. Through her participation, and currently in her capacity as
treasurer, Mrs. Martinez has helped strengthen the San Pedro Garifuna Council.
In an effort to make the Garifuna culture more visible on the island, she
introduced the Miss San Pedro Garifuna Pageant and established Garifuna dance
presentations at the various resorts. As a dancer, advisor and leader of the
dance group, Ms. Julia and her ten-member team have not only raised awareness in
San Pedro about their culture but also delighted many visitors with their native
dances. As the head of the Garifuna queen's committee in San Pedro, Ms. Julia
has brought to the island's stage a cultural pageant that has been embraced by
the entire community. No stranger to this type of event, Ms. Julia held the
title of Miss Garifuna Punta Gorda Primary School in 1981, Miss Garifuna Punta
Gorda in 1986 and Miss Garifuna Belize in 1987.
Established on the island, Ms. Julia and her husband went searching for
additional financial income. Acquiring a lot next to the Martinez's home, they
were able to open their own business - Black and White Reggae Bar. This now very
popular establishment, opened on July 27th, 1999, continues to promote the
Garifuna culture through shows featuring drumming and dance presentations, and
by serving traditional Garifuna dishes.
limited amount of spare time, Ms. Julia enjoys gardening because it helps her to
relax. "The beauty of nature is very soothing and helps one forget any troubles
they may have," stated Mrs. Martinez.
A trusted person in
San Pedro, Ms. Julia is honored to be sought out by many for advice. Having
moved from the southern tip to the northern part of Belize, Julia Martinez has
found everything she has hoped for; a family, a satisfying occupation and the
perfect venue to promote her culture. Transplanted in San Pedro, Julia Martinez
blossoms as a highly respected advocate of education and culture in "Our