|Mrs. Carmelita Heredia with her seven-year-old granddaughter Kayleen.
In today’s free world, women can do it all. They are mothers, executives and lovers all in one. Some simply choose a career while others opt to follow the family way. Once a woman becomes a mother and housewife, there are two things that are equally as important; her husband and her children. Later on in life, the grandchildren take precedence, however the quote remains: Behind every great man, there is a great woman. The San Pedro Sun proudly presents a woman who truly lives up to that quote – Carmelita Vasquez de Heredia.
Flavio Vasquez met and fell in love with a lovely island girl named, Monica. Surrounded by the beauty, quaintness and tranquility of X’calak, the couple soon wed and the newly formed Vasquez family began their life together. Six children followed the marriage, four girls and two boys. The third girl in the family, Carmelita, was born in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico on October 5th, 1957 after her family migrated there from X’calak.
A year after her birth, Carmelita’s family decided to move to San Pedro where her father’s extended family lived. This is where they remained and made a life. She recalls fondly the beauty of the island. “The white, sandy, sandy beaches. The sea where we used to spend all our time still is beautiful but there were many more fishes,” she reminisced. Carmelita was enrolled at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School, located where the Atlantic Bank empty lot is today. After graduating successfully, she moved on to higher education at San Pedro High School. Studies were never Carmelita’s passion and she chose to leave her education while she was in the third form of high school.
Entering a new chapter in her life, Carmelita found a job at Caribeña Co-operatives for the following three years. There she assisted the ladies in cleaning and packaging the seafood that arrived through their doors. Following a regular work day, the ladies would clean fish, lobster, and conch to get them ready for sale. “On a regular day we would pack close to 120 boxes of lobster which were then shipped off the island,” she explains. While at the cooperative, Carmelita met Manuel Heredia, a handsome young man with whom she fell in love with. On May 22nd, 1976 the couple was wed in an intimate ceremony. They are the proud parents of three children, Manuel Jr. (30), Alba (26) and Odalice (18).
Carmelita dedicated her life to her husband and children ensuring to keep a spotless home and delicious meals on the table. However, their idyllic lifestyle changed when on November 25th, 1975, only one short month after The Lions Club was formed in San Pedro, Manuel became a proud member of this service minded club. Carmelita accompanied her husband to the various meetings and assisted in all that she could. Through their involvement with this worldwide organization, the San Pedro Lions Club assisted in building the San Pedro High School and also assisted in remodeling the San Pedro Lions Clinic. Carmelita became a Lion herself six years ago and continues to assist in all she can. “It is a great organization. I love the unity and the friends you make through the club,” she stated.
Carmelita’s husband also had other plans. Always having a sincere interest in his community, Manuel joined the political scene in 1984, as a member of the United Democratic Party (UDP). From 1994 to 1997, Manuel served as Mayor for San Pedro Town, and in 2003, Manuel was elected as Area Representative for Belize Rural South. It is a post he holds today with pride. “Politics have never been my thing. I don’t like them,” commented Carmelita. “But, he is my husband and I support him in everything that he does.”
In her leisure time, Carmelita enjoys watching her favorite television shows and spending time with her grand children, Kayleen (7) and Faye (1).
Always looking for ways to assist and offer her support, Carmelita proves that, although a career is important, family life is greater. “My biggest accomplishments are my kids and my ‘nietos.’ They complete my life; without my grandchildren especially, I do not know what I would do. They are my everything,” she ended. Always loving, supportive, caring and willing to give of herself, Carmelita Heredia is a true example of a loving mother, wife and friend in “Our Belize Community.”