Our Belize Community: Javier & Yaneisy Zuniga

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 16            April 17, 2008

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The Zunigas, along with their son Jayden.

To make a marriage work, it requires the same elements that any job may need. Of course, the benefits are far greater but to make a marriage work, one needs dedication, perseverance, and the willingness to fight to make it to the next promotion of love in your life. Some make their marriages a success by keeping occupied with their careers and have voluntary assignments when out of the workplace while others still enjoy their partner’s company to the extent that they work in the same business. One such couple is the Zunigas who work and play together making their marriage a success. Because of that and much more we proudly introduce them to “Our Belize Community”.

    Yaneisy Perez Nodarse was born in Cabaiguan, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba to parents Pilar Nodarse and Manuel Perez on January 5th, 1978. Along with her sister, Yaneisy loved her childhood especially because she was surrounded by her family at all times. “My family all lived in the same neighborhood so we were always together,” she recalled fondly.

    Javier Zuniga was born in San Ignacio, Cayo to parents Urbelina and Jose Zuniga on March 18th, 1978. He grew up surrounded by siblings as the middle child in a family of three brothers and two sisters. Javier first attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and later moved on to Sacred Heart High School.

    Yaneisy began her educational studies at Noel Sancho Elementary and after graduating attended Conrado Benitez and her sixth form (pre-university) education came courtesy of Veremundo. There at Veremundo she majored in the Sciences, “I loved that part of education. In Cuba it is different, you always have doctors, nurses and other professionals visit you at school and at home to help you decide on which career you might want to go into. I loved the Sciences and figured that I should challenge myself. One of the highest careers was being a Dental Surgeon that is what I thought that I would pursue.” To pursue her dream, Yaneisy attended Politechnico de la Salud and received her degree as a Dental Technician.

    Graduating from Sacred Heart High School, Javier went on to continue his studies at St. John’s College Junior College where he majored in the Sciences. “I always wanted to be a doctor, from a young age that was my dream,” he commented. Whizzing through his sixth form education, Javier passed it with flying colors and garnered him a scholarship to pursue his dream in Cuba. His first year in Cuba was spent learning Spanish at the Matanzar University in Cuba and this was followed by his extensive education at the Superior Institute of Medical Studies Dr. Serafin Ruiz de Zerate Ruiz located in the city of Santa Clara. For the next few years he worked hard to achieve that dream that made him work hard while at school.

    Yaneisy wanting to further her studies once graduating from the Politechnico de la Salud, enrolled herself at the Superior Institute of Medical Studies, Dr. Serafin Ruiz de Zerate Ruiz. During her first year, she met Javier, who was, at the time, a fifth year student. Javier completed his six years at the Zerate Ruiz institution and graduated in July of 2003. Now a doctor, Javier had the distinction of being the only foreign student to graduate with honors. Because of all his accomplishments he received El Diploma de Oro, The Golden Diploma, one of the highest recognitions offered by the medical institution. After being recognized for his endeavors, Javier received a scholarship to extend his studies in the medical field to become a cardiologist and was scheduled to return to medical school in November of 2003.

    However, Javier’s father passed away that year and unfortunately he decided to begin work and not follow through with his education. Six months later, Yaneisy arrived and joined him in his country of Belize. Because there were some problems with the accreditations of his Cuba qualifications, Javier chose to work as a professor while the matter got resolved. Dr. Zuniga applied for a position at the Medical University of the Americas Belize to work as a professor. In January 2004, Dr. Zuniga began working in San Pedro as the professor of Immunology and Microbiology. In his spare time, Dr. Zuniga visited the San Pedro Health Center and assisted the doctor and nurses in the cases presented before them.

    Yaneisy, on the other hand, began working as an Aerobics Instructor, “In Cuba, our high schools would compete in musical aerobic shows. It was done as fun and incorporated dancing, but soon we added weights and turned it into a full fledged aerobics class.” Soon, she got a job at El Divino Restaurant, located at the Banana Beach Resort as their Purchase Manager. Because of her good work, she was soon promoted to Purchasing Manager not only for the restaurant but for the entire hotel. This is a position she proudly holds till this day.

    The duo got married on April 17th, 2004 and they are the proud parents of baby Jayden Javier who is a beautiful and joyous one-year-old.

    Living in San Pedro and working full time at the Medical University opened more doors for Javier and was soon offered the position of Director of the San Pedro PolyClinic. This offer he took up and began his work at the public medical institution, a task he still fulfills up to this date. Soon he realized that the medical needs of the island were not being fully met and that is when he decided to open his private practice located on Coconut Drive.

    As a couple, the Zunigas were always searching for a place to party while on San Pedro and decided that there was no place that offered latin music in a calm, cool ambience. That is where Club Latino was born. A hit with the island, Club Latino offers Cumbia, Merengue among the many other popular music genres. It has been a huge success that Club Latino has special nights to keep the island entertained and these include the **new** Wednesday Noche de Azucar, Friday Karaoke and Saturday’s Noche Latina.

    Between, directing the Polyclinic, purchasing all of Banana Beach’s needs, the pharmacy and private practice, aerobics and the club, the couple finds quality family time any time of the day whatever the day might be. “Whenever an hour presents itself, we try to spend it together and on Sunday when neither one is working during the afternoon, we really enjoy the sea. We go fishing, or boating or just on the beach with the baby,” commented Yaneisy.

    With many more plans and dreams ahead, the Zunigas are truly enjoying their life in San Pedro. “From the moment I stepped on this island, the people have always been nice and kind. By the year that I was here, I already knew many people. The island residents made me love my new home,” she stated. “We have many dreams, and many of them include boosting up the culture on the island. There are hardly any programs for children and that is what we want to help bring in. We love the island and we want to make it an even better place for our son to grow up in,” they ended.

    Between a lot of hard work, Javier and Yaneisy have managed to squeeze a bit of play and love into their relationship. Together they have managed to be successful entrepreneurs. Together Javier and Yaneisy Zuniga have managed to heat up our Latin blood and taken care of our bodies at the same time, all within the boundaries of “Our Belize Community.”

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