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Alberto is the son of Maria and Gusto Arias. Alberto is the ninth child in a family that includes twelve daughters and sons. The Arias clan arrived into Belize when Alberto was ten years young from his home village of Agularos in El Salvador located just outside the country capital of San Salvador. Together they ran for their lives to escape the horrors that engulfed the Latin American country at the time.

That was now twenty-one years ago and as Alberto remembers, "the saddest moment of my life was when I lived in El Salvador and the soldiers came and burned our house and if they could have found us that night, they would have killed us. The soldiers were thinking my father was on the other side with the guerillas which was not true so when we were able to escape my father took all of us to Belize for safety. It was sad for all of us and very frightening."

Alberto today has grown into a gentle and kind young man. His mother Maria and father Gusto made their choices years back for their family for all the right reasons and now they make their home in the village aptly referred to as Valley of Peace. Alberto is happy these days that he is fortunate enought to have a full-time job at the a resort in the village of Placencia. Alberto prides himself upon the groundskeeping duties required of his position that define his work.

Alberto is proud to have a good job that has recently afforded him the ability to buy a new motorcycle that in his free time he spends it wisely scooting back and forth betwenn Placencia and Valley of Peace. Alberto is first and foremost a caring father and as he puts it, " my son is a major part of my life and is what drives me.

As for Alberto Arias's position as the 'Head Gardener', he is very happy to have been given the opportunity. For Alberto it means that his good work has been acknowledged and as he will tell you, "It makes me feel good inside. It is a job where I can learn and teach others and that is nice for me."

When asked what insight could Alberto offer to other aspiring Belizean men, the answer came with a bit of concentrated forethought before he smiled and said, "I would like to see other young men get more education - this is difficult in Belize but it is becoming more and more necessary - jobs are very scarce and everyone is fighting for the same job so you have to have something special. I try to show my brothers and their friends they have to continue to improve in their life skills. Today it is important to not only be polite and happy but also to show you want to learn more - working extra hours and offering to do extra jobs so the boss sees that you are trying hard is something I try to teach."

For Alberto this happiest moment to date in his short life of thirty-one years was, "when I came here in Belize, because I love Belize. At the time I was young and the nightmare memories of El Salvador were still fresh in my mind. Belize gave me and my family a chance, Belize gave my family a chance at life again. Even at ten years old when I was scared and the language was new for me, I still knew iBelize was special and it would be good for my family."

Where Alberto Arias would like to see himself in ten years, "I would still like to be a head gardener either here in Placencia or another fine place working nice people. I hope in time to travel to Canada or even the United States. I hear about these big gardens in those countries and I would like to go see them for myself and learn about them in order to better my life and the life of my son and family even more than it is now. I have many blessings and I hope my family and even my employers see my happiness and like to be around me because I show I am a good and happy person."

Belize is indeed a melting pot of cultures, besides the indigenous cultures from the Garifuna to the Kreole to the Maya, the fabric of the small country adds up in the end. For it's families like Alberto Arias and his siblings and their extended family of eighteen nieces and nephews that define the places like the Valley of Peace village that make Belize the country that it is, a place where people from around the world travel to enjoy the naturally pristine beauty as well as to call home. Together they ensure that life in paradise stays just the way it is for families like Alberto and the Arias'. Alberto Arias, a naturalized Belizean Man ('a Belizean by nationality'), a good man among many.


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