Local Treasure is a new series where we highlight some of the most important people in our community here in Placencia. These incredible individuals give lives to our town and are part of what makes it such an amazing place.
Twenty-six years ago Robin McCutcheon left her position as a microbiology professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada for the sunny shores of Belize. She founded her own business providing hotels with items they couldn't find anywhere else, but she never lost her love of teaching.
While she pours her heart into her business and works hard to grow the sustainable tourism industry here in the jewel of Central America, she never fails to take time for her real passion: karate.
A few times a week Robin heads to the community center here in Placencia to teach local children about this ancient martial art.
"I love to teach karate because it's an individual challenge that encompasses both physical and mental abilities."
Since Robin began teaching at her dojo, the local kids have been able to achieve their fifth belt in just under four years. They've trained with international masters and learned valuable discipline and self-confidence that will stay with them for a lifetime.
It also provides a wonderful soundtrack for the village. As you cycle past the community center on your way to town, you might hear the sounds of their practice and smile to yourself, knowing that Robin is inside sharing the best of herself with these young athletes.
Once karate practice is finished, Robin says she loves to see what else is going on around town.
When asked what she loves about Placencia, she lists the slower lifestyle, the foodie scene ("Choosing a spot for dinner is so difficult. There are too many incredible choices!"), and the plethora of community activities available. "You can play in a baseball tournament or have wine on the veranda!"
But her favorite thing about life here is "the camaraderie with friends and strangers alike while having good conversation over coffee in the village." We can't argue with her there!
After having accomplished so much, Robin is now dreaming of retirement when she'll fill her days with yoga and keep her karate practice as strong as ever!
Ready to experience Placencia for yourself? Book a Discovery Tour to experience everything this slice of paradise has to offer.