Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Sociologist Coming Out In Me

As I dive into this society I am welcomed with open arms by several local restaurant owners. So I thought I would share what I have learned about these sweet people.  They are not just sweet they actually bring you into their life as family.  This couple Im going to tell you about has literally made us feel so loved. They will forever be in our life, as our baby girl, Fairlane' body rest under a large tree on their beautiful mountain over looking the Caribbean sea. They are a Blessing. 

First a little detail info

Guanaja, Honduras
Population 10,000
Average wage $10-$20 a day Primary revenue source: Seafood Industry

Mi Casa Too owned and operated by Shawn and Lisa Holder

Shawn and Lisa both born and raised in Guanaja, Honduras. Shawn was raised by a single mother on the Cay. His mother did multiply jobs to put food on the table for her four kids. Guanaja does not have a social program to help their poor. As soon as Shawn was 18 he moved away to the Cayman Islands. He felt Guanaja had little for his future. 

Lisa grew up off the Cay in Guanaja. Her father was a freestyle diver. He would set and pick up lobster traps without using oxygen tanks. It is a very dangerous job and hard on the body. He now suffers medical consequences from this profession. 

Her mother makes and sells fresh fruit juices on the Cay.  Every early in the morning she loads up her coolers and rides by boat to the Cay to sell her juice. She sits on a bench in a busy area of town from 5am to 4pm selling her fresh fruit. 

Like Shawn, Lisa knew Guanaja had little for her future. She too set off to the Caymans, she actually met Shawn there. They married and had their daughter. It became time to renew their work visa. Shawn would have to prove that he made enough financially to support his family to their standards. Luckily, his brother' company was expanding and needed some help. But they would have to return to Guanaja. 

Now, he is a broker for his brother' company. Lisa worked for a local resort for a several years then opened her own snack shop at the local airport. She was able to support the family while they used Shawn' salary to purchase land and build their dream home on a hilltop with a miraculous view. 

Shawn always dreamed of having his own bar and restaurant. Since mortgages are rare in Honduras and loans come with very high interest rates, they had to save and do a little at a time. 

Once they had it enclosed they moved in and slowly completed the plumbing and wiring. They added a lovely wrap around porch where they now use to entertain their customers. Once they completed the porch, kitchen and utilities they closed the snack shop and opened Mi Casa Too. 

Mi Casa Too is known for their local island style flare. They serve local plates of chicken, pork and fish at decent competitive local prices. They are the only place that also offers Lion Fish, Conch and Calamari. 

Shawn still works as a broker during the weekdays. Lisa takes care of the kids, home and the businesses financial books. I say businesses because besides the restaurant they also produce Holder's mutton pepper sauce. Lisa created it and gave it away at the snack shop. One day a customer told her she needed to sell it. So since 2011 they have producing and selling Holder's Pepper Sauce to all of Guanaja. 

Once Shawn gets home he turns into a bartender and waiter and Lisa turns into a chef. Some how they seem to find a balance with it all. They say its a struggle and look foreword to the tourist business to increase with the upcoming plans of cruise ships stopping in Guanaja. So perhaps within a few years Shawn can retire from his day job and they expand the porch to accommodate more customers. 

We wish them much luck with their future plans. Im sure it will be promising with their past proof of being consistent and patient. 

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