Friday, 22 November 2013

Confessions of a Medical Student becoming an Entrepreneur

Confessions of a Medical Student becoming an Entrepreneur

November 22nd by Oscar Castaneda for Balaam Eco Adventures

“It’s so intriguing how life turns out when you have set your goals and ambitions.  Statisically speaking a majority of people study  a career which they will never exercise and do something completely different than they had envisioned for themselves.  I guess that this is life and reality as it turns out to be. “
 Zipline Adventure

I had always considered myself as an ambitious, hardworking, a go-getter, goal-oriented, over achiever, perfectionists who always accomplished whatever I proposed to do.  My aspirations always had the best of me and wanting to be the number one at everything  I set my mind to do.  

Whatever your mind can perceive you can achieve, it only takes 1% of inspiration and 99% of perspiration as my mentor Guadelupe Cima taught me.   Wow that was quite a mouthful.  Sometimes I get ahead of myself and think faster than I can type.  My mentors, professors, colleagues, friends, parents, church members saw me as very composed, serious, determined persona sure of what I wanted to be in life from a very young age.

From my tender age I knew that I wanted to be a doctor and someone important as we say here in my neck of the woods.   My social life was none existent and very focused on the academics and being on top of the class.  I was very shy, hardly spoke to girls even though I really liked them and had a crush on them.  This of course is an entirely different story we will leave for another day and how I miraculously overcame my shyness with a girl I had a crush on for four years.   We are now friends!  Some of my other defects, a late bloomer, a little book worm and  like a lonely  coati, short for a coatimundi  keeping to myself and determined to grow up to be respected and in a high place in society, a doctor, or so I thought.

My life which I vaguely remember consisted of being focused and excelling in my studies and working for my mom and grandparents in the sales department.   I was the chief sales and marketing director selling tomatoes, watermelon, corn, cabbages, sweet peppers and any produce for my grandparents.  For my mom I was her dependable cash machine selling any pastries and cooked goodies she so arduously laboured to make to make ends meet.  I would sell all my pastries and produce and always up sell so that I only had go back and delivered the paid goods.

Flash backs of my childhood are now starting to appear magically as I type and getting excited about this article!!  I still vividly remember and now laugh at my little brother’s innocence.  He was sent to sell as well and would return quickly, we would all be happy that he had sold his share, only to realize he had made zero sales, ha ha ha.  This is still so funny as sales and marketing came so natural to me, not knowing that someday I was going to change careers from Medicine to eventually become an Entrepreneur.

Someone once said that we are destined to greatness and have been pre-determined to be  what we now are.  Truth or fiction I don’t know but I now I know that I had always been an Entrepreneur from a very young age however I didn’t know it back then.   Its like a sculpter taking his time to bring out that on special gift shop item or important masterpiece.  I guess that knowing this would have saved me from attending the best University I have attended in my life, the Business University of Hard Knocks and kicks where I am earning my PHD.   Imagine  from Medicine to business,  so life has taught me a lot and now am complimenting my Business University of Hard Knocks and Kicks Degree with an actual online University Degree at the University of the West Indies.

Guns and Roses is one of my all time favourite songs and listening to of it as I write.  It relaxes  and inspires making me think clearly.  Who would have thought that I would listen to this type of music when in my High School years this music was coming out and I was nicked named “ The Mark of the Beasts” due  to being Religious as we were brought up in our religious and humble home.

I had always known that I wanted to write some part of my life and life experiences but never saw myself as becoming a blogger.  I started blogging for my business Balaam Eco Adventures  sporadically, and never considered doing it more consistenly.  Two days ago I was brain storming and said to myself, what can I do for my business and what can I possibly write for my business blog?  After taking the time an putting “pen to paper” on my laptop, I was pleasantly surprised with four pages of a rich cocktail variety of topics.

As I sat today I was like hmmmm,  which of so many things can I write about? None of the topics captured my attention.    It then just hit me like a ton of water rushing towards my chest as I vividly remember one of my major accidents I had on the Hummingbird Highway.   I crashed my dad Samuri Susuki on my return from Medical School, head on at 70mph into a Tow Head Trailer full of Valencia Oranges.   These oranges were making thier way to be processed into orange concentrate to be sold to Florida for Tropicana and Minute Maid.

My greatess hero and inspiration to actually become an Entrepreneur came from my dad who I love with all my heart even though we don’t see eye to eye.   I hope he doesn’t read this as he really wanted me to complete Medical School and become a Pedriatician as was my original plan.   Well if he reads it will make him see my point of view and understand my goals and aspirations as we were brought up in a conservative home like my ancestors the Ancient Maya who believed that men are the providers and women the child bearers.

My dad worked at the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) factory for 25 years! That is dedication and I could not see myself working for a company for that long unless it was my business.  At that point I decided that someday I wanted to become self employed and have my own business and didn’t know that an actual word for a group of people, Entrepreneurs existed.  My dad and I would travel to Belize City very early to the location now known as Brown Sugar  now a mall which was back in the day the Belize City market when I was 14 years old.
                                                                       Snorkeling and Diving

There we would buy fish and sell various species of fish as this was my first introduction to marine life and now I take my guest on Snorkeling and Diving tours to see the awesome marine life and rainbow coloured fishes. We would travel to sell chicken, fish and produce to the villages before my dad would go to work at 8:00am at BSI.  When my dad came out from work at 5:00pm we would  deliver loads of materials for construction and land fill.  My dad even opened a grocery store and later a corn tortilla factory which was his dream business idea from when he was a child.

My dad retired from BSI and now is successfully operating his corn tortilla factory for 18 years which sells corn tortillas, corn tortilla chips in many flavours.  These products are for local and is also exported and is popular with tourists visiting San Ignacio..

The apple doesn’t fall the far from the tree is true as I am following in my dad’s footsteps as I opened a restaurant and am now the Owner and  Managing Director for 
Balaam Eco Adventures .

I am now happy doing what I love doing and live by the slogan “Love what you do and do what you love”.  An important lesson I learnt from my dad is that you can become a professional in any field you chose once you do it to the best of your efforts.  We are Creating Lifetime memories one vacation at a time and invite you to take advantage of our special Thanksgiving deals for a limited time.

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1 comment:

  1. We welcome your comments, ideas and if you have any particular topic you would me to blog about let me know. Email to