04-363.html@u8 Our Community - Sanitary Engineers <I>Keeping La Isla - Bonita!</I>
Our Community - Sanitary Engineers Keeping La Isla - Bonita!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 14, No. 36            October 21, 2004

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(L R) Edgar Paz, Juan Chi, Eduardo Espinosa, Santiago Valdez
The dedicated Sanitary Engineers put in long days keeping the island clean. They are often seen traveling the streets in their tractor and wagon.

Ambergris Caye is a world-renowned tourist destination, known for its quiet atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and friendly people. Many visit the island in search of jobs and a better way of life. However, one of the most important jobs on the island is one that goes without receiving proper appreciation. This week, The San Pedro Sun is proud to introduce four men who pride themselves in keeping "La Isla Bonita" clean Santiago Valdez, Juan Chi, Edgar Paz, and Eduardo Espinosa, San Pedro Town's sanitary engineers.

     Santiago was born on a sunny 25th day in July of 1945 in Veracruz, Mexico. Born to Elena Olmeda and Roberto Vasquez, he was raised in a family of two sisters and one younger brother. Santiago attended Miguel Hidalgo Elementary but sadly, was only able to make it to the third grade and did not have the opportunity to further his education.

     Soon after, Santiago began searching for a job and was first employed as a farmer. He tended to crops such as rice, beans, and corn. It was a job he proudly performed for five years.

     In 1962, wanting to broaden his horizon, Santiago moved to Chetumal, Quintana Roo. In beautiful Chetumal, he worked as a carpenter's assistant, but later found that this was not his niche and decided to move on.

     At the age of 17, Santiago first stepped foot in Belize and settled in Corozal. He worked in the agriculture industry, cultivating sugar cane. Unfortunately, the Corozal sugar factories closed and the town's economy suffered. Once again, Santiago found it necessary to move.

     On May 20th, 1970, Santiago wed the love of his life, Lucrecia Cob. The couple are the proud parents of five wonderful children; Irene, Damian, Aurelio, Armando, and Santiago Jr.

     After learning of San Pedro Town, Santiago decided to uproot his family and move them to "La Isla Bonita." He was first employed as a surveyor's assistant at Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. After his work at the marine reserve was completed, he went in search of a new job.

     In 1991, Santiago paid a visit to the San Pedro Town Council and got a post as a sanitation engineer, a job he still holds today. "I do my work everyday with pride and honor. At the end of the day, I earn a salary for an honest day's work," he ended.

     Juan Chi was born in the picturesque village of Santa Clara in the Corozal District on June 12th, 1956 to Secundina Chi. Juan was born into a family of two brothers and one sister.

     As the oldest and having a single mother, Juan found it necessary to help with the family's expenses and was not able to receive an education. He was first employed as a mason, but finding this occupation not to his liking, Juan found work in one of the various sugar cane factories.

     Juan then met the woman with whom he shares his life with, Norma Rodriguez. Together, they have three children; Joaquin, Gabriel, and Yadi.

     Unfortunately, the cane factories closed down and he was left without work. Having friends in San Pedro, Santiago decided to pay them a visit; a visit that never ended. He found employment at the San Pedro Town Council as a sanitation engineer, which he still performs today.

     "Like they say, It is a dirty job but someone has to do it,'" he said. "But I still make honest money to sustain my family and that is what counts."

     Edgar Paz was born in Belize City on a beautiful 9th day of April. Parents, Edita and Jaime Paz welcomed the new addition to their family. Raised in a family of one boy and one girl, Edgar grew up enjoying the waters surrounding the busy city.

     Edgar attended elementary school but was only able to make it to the sixth grade. He found employment loading and unloading cargo boats where his father worked and proudly performed his duties for seven years. Soon after, Edgar decided to make the bold move to San Pedro Town.

     In need of a job, Edgar found work as a mason and also became a carpenter's assistant. He helped his supervisor measuring boards, mixing cement and completing other tasks assigned to him. Due to health reasons, after 21 years, Edgar had to find another line of work that did not require lifting heavy objects. He heard that the Town Council needed sanitation engineers, applied and got the position. "I would just tell the youth that it doesn't matter what you do so as long as you earn an honest pay," he ended.

     Eduardo Espinosa was born in Cantun El Castillo, El Salvador on September 10th, 1963. Octavia and Horacio Hernandez welcomed their first child in what would become a family of nine girls and three boys.

     Eduardo's father was sick and being the oldest child, he had to help his parents with the household expenses. He first got work in the agriculture industry, growing beans, corn, rice, etc. A civil war had erupted in El Salvador and jobs became scarce, so Eduardo was forced to move.

     Learning of Belize through some friends, Eduardo decided to try his luck and settled in the Corozal district. Not finding much luck there, he moved to San Pedro Town. Eduardo first got work as a carpenter's assistant. He performed his job for four weeks, but he found that this was a job that he did not enjoy. In search of a new employment, Eduardo heard of an opening at the Town Council. He got the job and today he remains there as a sanitation engineer.

     On one of his vacations to El Salvador, Eduardo met and fell in love with his companion Maria Sanchez. They are the proud parents of one son, Elwin.

     These four men are proud of what they do and accomplish their tasks to the best of their abilities. Their day starts at three in the morning and does not end until four or five in the evening. "It is a hard job, most people do not realize that we work close to thirteen hours every day," stated Mr. Valdez.

     Santiago Valdez, Juan Chi, Edgar Paz and Eduardo Espinosa are the hardworking sanitation engineers of San Pedro Town. It is a job that for the most part goes unnoticed but one that is absolutely essential in the upkeep of Ambergris Caye. These dedicated men play a vital role in the "litter free environment" in "Our Community."

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