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Hard Work Pays Off, Small Businessman Attests

Hard Work Pays Off, Small Businessman Attests
April 13
20:05 2019

Ramon Joya, 37, has raised his four children through hard work each and every day. In fact, while most of us are still sleeping at 2:00 a.m., Ramon’s day is already entering full swing. That is when he starts to grind several hundred ears of corn to make the hot corn meals he serves up in front of Gwen Liz High School every school day and at the Michael Finnegan Market on Saturdays. For three back-breaking hours he cooks the corn, strains it and sweetens the porridge, while with the help of his wife, he packages off and cooks dukunu with and without meat, and tamales. On occasion, he also offers cold coconut water extracted from the fruit grown right in his yard.

The second half of the work begins when he takes these hot meals on his bicycle cart to the street-side across from the school to vend before the bell rings at eight. He remains there until break time and up to the lunch hour sometimes until everything sells out. That for him is not the end of the day, because having to find fresh ingredients to repeat the process is a must in order that the business is successful from day to day.

His was not an easy road, he shared with us today. His parents who are Salvadorans took him from Belize to that country when he was five years old and that was where he spent the next ten years until he returned to Belize at the age of 15. He learned from early that because of his rough childhood, earning a keep was his only option and after a few tries working for others did not bring him the kind of personal and financial gains for which he had hoped, aside from his need to provide for a family of his own, at the age of 25 he decided to make a living for himself, being his own small businessman.

Still barely able to speak English because of spending his childhood years in a Spanish-speaking country, Ramon says the names for the items he vends are sufficient for him and his customers to get along and to make his business thrive. When he needs to communicate on broader spectra than that, he relies on his Belizean-born children to do the translation.

While Ramon believes in the power of being one’s own boss, he also sees the need for his children to have an education. That is why, while he is teaching them the advantages of owning and operating their own small businesses, having the right business training and concepts will teach them to adopt to changing economic landscapes that he was not privy to when he was growing up.

Ramon’s hope is to build a better home for his family. The one they currently share is situated in an area that becomes partial swampland in the rainy season. And when it rains, even making it to the street in dry clothes and shoes is a bit of a feat. All that will change with time, he hopes, as he saves towards that eventuality.

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