Many people make up our diverse Caribbean community, all contributing a special something that makes "La Isla Bonita" what it is today. Many open their own businesses, other have careers and despite all the hours spent at the office, still find time to help those that are less fortunate. This week's personality is a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, devoted family member, entrepreneur and has still dedicated her time to the needy. This week, The San Pedro Sun proudly features a "caye" person in Ambergris Caye, Mrs. Manuela "Nita" Marin.
Nita was born in Xcalak, Mexico on July 28th, 1947 to Carmela and Adolfo Ayuso. At the age of three, her father, a San Pedrano, uprooted his family from Mexico and moved his children to "La Isla Bonita." Nita recalls attending the San Pedro Roman Catholic School located where the San Pedro Police Station is now, alongside her three brothers and three sisters.
By the age of 14, Nita had graduated from elementary school. Due to financial restraints, she was unable to attend high school in Belize City. She remained in San Pedro and assisted her mother with the household chores; helping her cook, clean, and wash. She would grind maize to make fresh corn tortillas, and wash clothes with a scrubbing brush. Fish was part of their daily meal, and meat was only served at special occasions. Nita recalls being excited during the Christmas holidays, when they received toys. During the year, they never received gifts, which made Christmas extra special. It was also the time when families enjoyed apples, grapes and pears that were not commonly consumed through the year.
On April 18th, 1965, Nita married her school sweetheart, Edilberto Marin. She became a dedicated homemaker, taking care of the home she had made with her husband and their four girls: Mireya, Imelda, Nita, and Flor.
A few years later, the Marins opened Nita's Supermarket. This was the first supermarket in San Pedro, and although it was not very big, it compared to the big supermarkets of today. Nita and her family worked together and Nita's Supermarket flourished for twelve long years.
In 1975, Nita's husband was one of the founding members of the Lions Club of San Pedro Town, serving as their first Treasurer. Nita became an auxiliary member, helping the Lions with their fundraising events. She has had the distinct pleasure of attending International Lions Conventions in New Orleans, Indiana, Miami and all the Istmania Conventions (Central America), with the exception of Nicaragua.
The Marins, felt that there was a potential market for purified water in San Pedro and in October of 1987, they brought to San Pedro, Aqua Fresh Enterprises. Nita and her family supplied purified water, juices and ideals to businesses through "La Isla Bonita," and leading supermarkets in Belize City and Caye Caulker. Aqua Fresh Enterprises became one of the leading purified water suppliers on the island and Belize.
Over the years, Nita has worked hard to keep the traditions alive on the island and has participated in many fund raising comparsas (dance groups) during Carnival. As a participant, she has performed as a schoolgirl, Asian, Cuban, Creole, and even Celia Cruz.
In July of 1995, Nita became a full member of the San Pedro Lions Club. She has devoted numerous hours to the promotion of this worldwide organization. In the nine years she has been a Lion, Nita has served in all ranks of this club including secretary, tail twister, vice president and now proudly as President of the Club. While she serves as the President, one of her main goals is in seeing the hospital come to fruition. Also in her plans, are the renovations of the Mosquito Coast Park and laying tiles at the Lions Den by the New Years Eve Dance.
In her free time, Nita enjoys watching her "novelas," Mexican soap operas and spending time with her nine grandchildren. She says that dedicating time to the Club is what she looks forward to. "I enjoy knowing that I can make a difference. The Club helps a lot of people worldwide and knowing that we help so many people in the community is amazing!" she explained. Through her invaluable service to the island, Mrs. Manuela "Nita" Marin has proven that she is truly a leader in "Our Community."