The strength of a community can only be measured by its people. In San
Pedro those lucky enough to have been born here have contributed much to
our Isla Bonita. There have also been many that chose San Pedro as their
home and they too have added to our island. Many great men and women have
done their part to make us the number one destination in Belize. That is
the case of a young San Pedro woman who, with her talent and great
managerial skills, has helped boost our island-Miss Elsa Paz.
Born to Celi and Gildardo Paz on January
6th, 1963, Elsa, like
the rest of the new generation, attended San Pedro R. C. School and then
San Pedro High School graduating in 1980. She recalls growing up in San
Pedro as an unforgettable part of her life. Coming from a family of three
sisters and four brothers, she was showered with much love and affection.
Elsa was a very popular girl in school and a born
leader. At a very young age she joined the San Pedro Leos Club, serving
as Vice President for two years. Her popularity also won her the title of
Miss San Pedro, when she was only 14 years old, in 1977.
Being a determined youth she went to work, just two
weeks after graduation, at the historic Barrier Reef Hotel as a
receptionist. After two years, she decided to try her abilities as a
Sales Agent for San Pedro Foods (the largest wholesale and retail store
in San Pedro at the time). Since the beginning, Elsa monitored her salary
very carefully, saving for one of her hidden passions - painting. As a
young child she would always find herself sketching various island scenes
and was fascinated by the beauty of colors. By 1984 she had saved enough
to start her own business, Waterline Gift Shop. Here, Elsa displayed and
sold hand-painted T-shirts and souvenirs. What made her shirts special
were the picturesque island scenes and the colorful flora and fauna of
San Pedro immortalized on her shirts. This was a perfect souvenir for the
growing number of tourists visiting the island.
Elsa's last name, Paz, was a very popular
name then and still is today. Her father was the owner of Big Daddy's
Disco. This has been the entertainment center for San Pedro since the
1950s. After Mr. Paz's unfortunate death, the business was up for lease,
until 1985 when Elsa took over management again. Her vibrant personality
and creative energy soon had Big Daddy's rocking. During her term as
manager she made many improvements to the entertainment spot of the
island. She expanded the establishment, re-decorated and added a
restaurant. Elsa's part was finished and just recently she let go of the
reins of Big Daddy's, resting assured that she had given it her best.
During all this time she continued with her gift shop,
although she had relocated to Pescador Drive and re-named it Sea Fan Gift
Shop. Her creations now featured painting unique fish designs on coconut
palm and wood. As with her t-shirts, her work was an instant hit. Her art
now reaches all points of the world, thanks to tourists taking with them
a piece of our Isla Bonita. Having a keen interest in the development of
San Pedro and the welfare of its people, Elsa proudly entered the
political scene for a while. She has also served as Chairperson for the
Trade Licensing Board of San Pedro. She hopes to someday expand her gift
shop, as she has expanded her creations to include ceramic souvenirs,
hand-painted with a fish motif. As we enter a new century she also
aspires to open a ladies-only gym very soon.
Elsa told the San Pedro
Sun, "I have seen a lot of development in San Pedro,
especially when it comes to the tourism industry. We all know that
sometimes development has its down sides but San Pedro has been lucky
that most of its development has been for the best. I would like to
encourage all local artists to continue with their projects. We need to
share this talent with everyone and in this way expose our island and our
country to the many visitors that come here yearly."
All in all, Elsa displays all the characteristics of a
true business woman. She is talented, friendly, serious and an overall
great person in Our Community.