Our Community - Eluterio and Carmen Cocom - "Savoring San Pedro's serenity and simplicity"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 31            August 15, 2002

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Eluterio and Carmen Cocom<

San Pedro, once considered a quaint fishing village which time seemed to have forgotten, has now blossomed into this country's number one tourist destination. Although "La Isla Bonita" has now developed into an island with many of the modern-day amenities, it has still managed to retain its charm and unique style. This week The San Pedro Sun is honored to feature two brothers who have lived a simple life regardless of the changes - Eluterio and Jose del Carmen Cocom.

    On February 20th, 1927, Rosa and Reyes Cocom rejoiced in the birth of their first baby boy they named Eluterio. One year later, on July 16th Eluterio became the proud brother of Jose del Carmen. The two brothers were raised by their father, enjoying the wonders of this peaceful and serene village. As was customary in those days, the Cocom brothers joined their father on fishing trips when they were very young children.

    When Eluterio and Carmen were only teenagers (15 and 14 years old respectively) their father passed away and they were left alone to fend for themselves. The brothers continued fishing to sustain themselves and to make payments on a parcel of land that their father had left them. In search of additional income, the Cocom brothers moved to Xcalac, Mexico where they worked gathering coconuts and clearing land. After working there for ten years they were able to pay off their debt and returned to San Pedro to stay. At that time, the lobster industry was flourishing and both Carmen and Eluterio spent the next four years of their lives trapping lobster.

    When Carmen was thirty-one years old he decided to start a family of his own and married Eulalia Kumul. Together, they had three children: Martha Rosa, Mayra and Manuel de Atocha, who are all grown and married now. Eluterio remained a bachelor but stayed very close to Carmen and his family.

    After the lobster industry began to decline, Carmen first went to work as a watchman for Caribeña Fishing Cooperative for ten years. He was then hired by the San Pedro Town Council to clean the beach and still performs this work today. Aside from his employment at the San Pedro Town Council, this very active seventy-three year-old man does not seem to stand still. On his days off, he works clearing lots for extra cash.

    On the other hand, Eluterio was hired as a sanitary engineer, working at the San Pedro refuse site. Eluterio did this for thirteen years but was forced to retire because of health reasons. Determined to support himself, Eluterio earns his living today by weaving and mending fishing nets, a skill only a few locals still possess.

    Both Eluterio and Carmen told The San Pedro Sun that life on the island has changed drastically from what they remember. Both agreed that the progress has had its good and bad sides but feel that it was necessary to keep up with the rest of the world. They also agreed that the development has also provided more opportunities for the youth of San Pedro.

    Although the Cocom brothers have experienced the evolution of San Pedro, they choose to enjoy a simple way of life. When they are not working, they stroll around town, rid their yard of weeds and sit on their veranda watching the tourists that go by. Even though their surroundings have changed they continue living as though time has not passed. "Living a simple life and not making things complicated has helped us enjoy every day to the fullest," commented one of the brothers.

    Eluterio and Jose del Carmen Cocom are two local brothers who through their good family values and individuality continue to enjoy the best things in life in "Our Community."

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