Two Iconic Islanders Need Your Help – Maria and Coconut Leo
Sometimes life throws a curve ball your way and you have to do what you can to survive. As was the case of Maria the fruit/juice lady, a global favorite. Both my friend Jenna and I were happy to see she and the family fruit stand landed in a new location after both her home and her business were forced to move at the same time.
Maria’s new location is a bit farther south from her old one which was across from Isla Bonita Yacht Club. From town, If you go past Banana Beach Resort and just a little more past Royal Palm Villas then look right at the corner of the road leading to Escalante on the west side of the road you will see it.
We had a nice visit and we got to meet a couple of Maria’s many grandchildren and her new puppy Mangito. Maria and her son told us how happy they were in their new spot and we both told them how great it looked and that we would let everyone where to find them. Over the years, its been a pleasure to buy fruits, juices, veggies, Belizean bush medicines and recycle glass jars with Maria. When she knows you a bit better, she will sometimes make an addition to your shopping bag. Once it was a few extra ingredients and the verbal encouragement I needed to make fresh salsa.
Many a traveler has fallen in love with Maria while shopping at her fruit stand. Her smile is infectious and her fresh made juices have flavored many people’s lives. If you are a fan of Maria show your support by stopping by her new location to pick up a few healthy treats and compliment her on the new shop.
Coconut Leo Needs Immediate Assistance
Next came a less happy tour for another iconic San Pedrano as we took the back road to San Pedrito to see the shell of Coconut Leo’s house burned down house. If you do not know, on July 8th Coconut Leo’s house burned to the ground while he (luckily) was not home.
Leo had been living rent-free on the property for the last 7 years. Leo’s uncle David has lived on the same property longer than Leo and his house was also damaged and in need of repair. David does pay some rent but up until recently, he was also living there rent-free. In the efforts to put out the fire, all of Davids belongings were soaked with seawater and ruined. One side of his house is still exposed to the elements and in need of major repairs. The neighbor’s cistern was also melted by the flames.
The property owner and a 30-year tour guide Herman Ramirez has known both Leo and David since they were all young and he intends to have both men continue to live on the property. Previous to Leo this location has been offered to others in need of housing assistance.
Help Coconut Leo Get a New Home
Imagine you came home one day to find a burned out shell of a house and your whole life was turned upside down. Suddenly you have no home and what little possessions you had were completely gone.
Time is of the essence and your help is needed to get Leo settled as soon as possible.
In the interest of the quickest and most efficient way to get Leo back into his house and help David recover, a Coconut Leo fire fundraiser Go fund me account has been started by Herman’s wife Jenna and another island resident, Tori. The goal is to raise enough money to buy a 14 x 16 readymade Mennonite house and fix David’s wall.
Coconut Leo has brought enjoyment to so many with his tree climbing skills and is a true testament to the ability always keep smiling no matter what comes your way. Throughout this tragedy, he has managed to do so as you can see from the picture I took of him the other day when Jenna, Tori and I tracked him down to tell him about his temporary accommodations offer. Leo has been offered a room at Pedro’s Hotel while the fundraising is going on to get him resettled in a new house.