The Gibsons lived a house away and behind from yours truly’s family home on Cairo Street in Belize City in the 1970s. The family of seven boys came from a proud and respectable Belizean parenthood: father Alrick Gibson was Belize’s most skillful and constructive cabinet maker of all time. Their mother, Mrs. Hortense Gibson, provided unconditional love and upbringing for her boys who could not have had any better of a guardian. She molded them with the kind of respect that has made them into the persons they have become today.
Kendis Gibson stood out as the youngest of the brothers, and it was obvious from his upbringing among his older siblings that he showed immediately a passion for reading and was always seen on the stairs of their home with a book. A few of the brothers were boys my age, and we played some serious football and basketball games together sometimes on the rocky Cairo Street, and in the yards of our homes. We competed hard against each other.
But the Gibson boys’ skills had extended further than the “yaad ball” and “street ball” that they played as athletes, and was seen in their carpentry and building skills that were nurtured by their father, Mr. Gibson, or, “The Bazzil”, as we called him. He had a cabinet making business at the corner of George and Glynn Street in Belize City. And during the summer holidays in Belize City, “The Bazzil” would hire me and other boys in the ‘hood to work at the shop where yours truly learnt much about cabinet making and developed a close friendship with the Gibson brothers for many years.
As teenagers, we partied at the popular clubs like the “Melting Pot” and “Castaways” together, and attended football games together at the legendary MCC Grounds and basketball games at the legendary and popular Birds Isle. For us, it was the best entertainment that we had, and we would not have given it up for anything at all. We came from a tough block, and the friends that graced our ‘hood were dynamic Belizean youths who have gone on like Kendis to become somebody today.
That “it takes a village to raise a child” saying was the anthem that governed our world. We had the utmost respect for parents of each other regardless that they were not our own. And you can get punished from your own to show disrespect for your friend’s parents.
When Kendis blew up big as a broadcast journalist in the United States after his family’s migration to the U.S. in the 1980s, it would not have dawned on any of us who knew him as a boy and the younger of the Gibson brothers that this would have been his passion in life. As a matter of fact he struggled much to remember who many of us were since he was just a little boy among his older brothers when those as myself were hanging out at his home. Most children who migrated to the U.S. at such a young age as Kendis did at 12 years old, rarely can remember much about their past homeland, especially faces and people who once crossed their paths.
But Kendis Gibson did not forget where he came from, and in 2017 visiting Belize on one of his several visits back to Belize, he revisited his childhood experiences and neighborhood at Cairo Street with a television crew and reported one of the most touching and incredible stories that he later said received high ratings at the ABC television network news where he is the Co-anchor of the popular, early morning “America This Morning/World News Now”.
He told us on the popular Los Angeles Belizean show, “Ah Wayk Op Lyke Dis”, internet radio and T.V. show with Lorna Smith and Wil Johnson, on April Saturday April 28, 2018 in Inglewood, California, that he did not only want to show through American television, the wealthy and most prosperous parts of Belize. But that he also wanted to show where he grew up in Belize City, and his humble beginnings as a Belizean kid that once dreamed like any child in Belize today. That it does not matter where you come from, but how you determine the kind of future that you want for yourself.
His visit to Los Angeles culminated on Sunday April 29, 2018 back to New York after being honored for his work in broadcast journalism and being the recipient of a special award at the “Belize Red Carpet” show in Gardenia, California for the Belize ambassadorship work that he had embarked on a few years ago.
We here at “Belizean Legends” celebrate the accomplishments of this son of Belizean soil who through hard work and making a dream come through became what he is today. A Belizean legend in the making that will hopefully impress us Belizeans even more as an ambassador for Belize and Belizeans at home and abroad.
Sail on, Kendis!