Featured Article & Photos by: Dennis Atencio, Eco Director for Crocodile Bay
Two weeks ago we received a letter from the Red Cross of Puerto Jiménez. The letter was an invitation to donate anything we could to the indigenous, Guaymies who have economic problem from the over use of their land and not having adequate health care and education. This group of indigenous people live 18 miles from Crocodile bay, they have a territory with about 2713 hectares with 85% primary forest. The name of the area where the people live is Alto Laguna, which means upper lagoon.
The Ngöbes (Guaymíes) are one of the five indigenous groups of Costa Rica who still conserve their own cultural traditions including the traditional dress of women. After migrating from Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí in Panama the Guaymí eventually settled in the southern pacific region in Costa Rica establishing five territories. The main sources of income for the Ngöbé Guaymíes comes from subsistence farming, which is still rudimentary and primitive, as well as making crafts such as bags, hats, beads, which are sold in the closest towns La Palma and Pto Jimenez, and performing work on farms like the Palm Oil companies.
The Red Cross organized the activities that day and we donated workers, money and a truck to carry food and cloth to these families. It was a hot day but we were very exited to share our resources with them. After a one-hour drive from Crocodile Bay, we arrived and saw the first humble houses mainly built by wood, and a child outside playing barefoot. The first good news was seeing how they are working hard to fix the road into their territory because years ago it was almost impossible get there by car. When we got to the soccer field all the different families where together waiting for us.
There were many people there helping and having a fun day. I think we did a good job because at the end of the day every one had a big smile on their faces, especially those sweet kids watching their mothers playing soccer with us.