Keeping our beach beautiful – and safe

April 3, 2009

The Holwer Mag
By: Diana Zimmerman

Tamarindo Chapter

Tamarindo Chapter

The beach, certainly, was born beautiful but it takes a lot of work to keep it that way.  Every day for the last fourteen years, regardless of temperatures, torrents or blowing sand, Jose Santos Corrales, known affectionately as Ro-Ro, has been walking the streets and beaches of our Tamarindo/Langosta community picking up trash.  He’s a great guy, but he isn’t doing this for free.  He and Gerardo Acosta share this full-time position which was paid for by the Associacion Pro Mejoras until it became inactive in 2008.

If anything is mandatory for Tamarindo, it’s a clean beach.  It’s probably the only thing we all agree on.  If the beach looks like a trash dump, our town is history.  This is the concern with which Pro Mejoras members approached Tamarindo’s fledgling chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.  Surfrider’s primary focus, contrary to what its name might suggest, is not surfing.  The Surfrider Foundation is an international organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans and beaches and guaranteeing free access to them for all people.  In August of 2008, Surfrider accepted the responsibility of providing Ro-Ro and Gerardo with their salary and the corresponding coverage by the CCSS.  Since then, every day is a Surfrider beach clean-up day.  This small group of sea-lovers has been working hard to pull together the $800 needed each month to perform this daily beauty treatment on Tamarindo.  That’s a big check for a tiny non-profit organization to write each month.  The Surfrider Foundation wants to publicly thank Orange Realty for their generous donation of $1,600 which paid for two months of Ro-Ro’s salary.  The Asociacion Nautica (or, less formally, “The Boat Association”) makes a monthly contribution of $50 to Surfrider and various members of the community have demonstrated their support with donations ranging from $20 to $1,000.  We depend on the beach and the beach depends on us.

Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach

Two other sister organizations were born in March of 2008 and have just celebrated their first birthday.  One of them is the Tamarindo Lifeguard Program.  In the year that donations have paid for the salaries of certified lifeguards on Tamarindo beach, at least 30 people have been rescued from potential drowning situations and many others treated for injuries caused by surfboards.  In spite of the fact that multiple deaths and the ensuing bad publicity have been avoided, the Lifeguard program is itself in need of emergency rescue.  Several months ago, the Hotel Tamarindo Diria assumed total responsibility for the salary and benefits of one of the lifeguards, leaving the town of Tamarindo the responsibility of funding only one lifeguard.   Cheryl McKillican, who single-handedly manages the program while raising a family, explains that the program, at present, does not know where its next meal is coming from.  One thousand dollars is necessary per month to cover expenses and the $4,000 raised for this purpose by the Raft-Up has all been spent.  Minimal support from the homes and businesses that benefit from the safety that the lifeguards provide has caused this crucial program to survive on a monthly hand-to-mouth basis with the constant possibility that this month will be their last.  Everyone seems to think that someone else should pay.  The Lifeguard Program wishes to thank, in addition to the Hotel Tamarindo Diria, the Surfrider Foundation, Hotel Capitan Suizo, Hotel Cala Luna and Tienda Dolores for their willingness to contribute.

The third sister celebrating a birthday is Tamarindo Recycles.  The community’s thirteenth Recycling Day was held on Saturday, March 14 in conjunction with a Surfrider beach clean-up.  In its first year of existence, Tamarindo Recycles has redirected tons of trash away from our landfills and sent it over the mountains to San Jose in a rather rickety-looking truck to be recycled in San Jose.  Tamarindo Recycles is run solely by hard-working volunteers who meet several times each month to organize publicity, education and of course Recycling Day.  Mark it down and no more excuses:  Recycling Day is held the SECOND SATURDAY of each month with the exception of the one in April, that will be on the THIRD Saturday due to Semana Santa.  This organization is different.  It isn’t asking for your money.  It asks for an hour of your Saturday morning once a month and the use of your feet for crushing cans, your hands for twisting off bottle caps, your arms for unloading boxes from cars.  Businesses with a large volume of recyclable material are now being asked NOT to bring their cast-offs to Recycling Day, but will be put into direct contact with the driver of the truck in order to arrange on-site pick-up.  This allows a manageable amount of trash to be collected from community households and the large quantities of material to be moved a minimum number of times, conserving the backs of willing-hearted volunteers and simplifying logistics.

On Saturday, April 4, 2009, the Surfrider Foundation, the Lifeguard Program and Tamarindo Recycles would like to invite all members of the Tamarindo/Langosta community to join us in celebrating the continuation of our positive work in the community.  A fundraiser fiesta, held at La Laguna del Cocodrilo, will collect a suggested donation at the door in order to sustain the health and beauty treatments that keep our town alive and vital.  The bar will donate a percentage of drinks purchased, so come enjoy the music and revelry with the really cool people who make it all happen.

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