In late June of 2015, we moved from the remote rainforest village of El Brujo, Costa Rica, to the growing town of Uvita. It was a humongous change living closer to simple creature comforts and immediately my days became a lot easier. Uvita is just 10 (paved-road) minutes south of our new house, Casa Teo. In the other direction the surfy, fun town of Dominical is just 15 minutes away. It seriously felt like we had moved from the country to the city, with all kinds of amenities like restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians. There were plenty of venues to check out live music, loads of local and cultural events to attend and lots of gorgeous beaches to choose from!
It was overwhelming and surreal to realize this was the natural progression of our Costa Rica journey. It was also very special for me to be residing closer to the coast, after living so far inland for the last 4+ months. The ocean soothes my soul and I began falling even deeper in love with my new homeland. There were days, when we first moved in to Casa Teo, that I would wake up and wonder “How did I get here?”
After several weeks passed by, I was finally settling in to my new way of life. And it was time to start making some friends, exploring the area and finding things to do!
On December 8th, 2015, I had my first correspondence with a member of the local Lifeguard Program. I found out that a small group of people had gotten together to help keep the lifeguards working at two popular beaches, Playa Dominical and Playa Hermosa. The Lifeguard Program was created in an effort to raise not only awareness of the dire need for the lifeguards, but also to help raise money to keep them on the beaches. The group had great sounding ideas including t-shirt sales, collecting individual and business cash donations and holding occasional fund-raiser events. This all sounded right up my alley, so I offered to be helpful, in anyway that I could.
The following week I set out with another member of the group and we headed to the town of Dominical. Our hope was to get some of the local businesses to contribute a small donation for the lifeguards. Much to our surprise, this proved to be more difficult than we thought, but I persevered and came up with another plan.
I set up a table with lifeguard information, a donation jar and Guardavidas t-shirts to sell. I was offered a great spot for this table, right in front of a busy shopping center called, Plaza Pacifica. Every Friday I showed up, set up, and helped to educate folks about the Lifeguard Program. I talked about what a riptide was and suggested what they could do to help keep the Guardavidas employed. I met some amazing, wonderful people, sold bunches of t-shirts and made my presence as a lifeguard volunteer at the Plaza a regular weekly thing. I really enjoyed being pro-active and I felt my volunteer time was time well spent!
In addition to meeting fabulous people, I started to make some new friendships. One such friend was 4-legged and I had the pleasure of making a dear connection with a little orange kitten that I named Tigre. She was a young cutiepie, super sassy, playful and totally adorable. I was told that before I started coming around, this kitty was skittish and wouldn’t let anyone come too close to her. Well, that quickly changed after a few weeks of knowing each other and she and I made a very sweet bond. I looked forward to seeing her each week, as she would run out of the store to greet me when I came across the parking lot to set up my table. Tigre was always entertaining and eager to assist me as a lifeguard volunteer!
This was the beginning of my time helping our lifeguards, so they could do the real job, of saving lives. And what a great way to get involved with my community! If you would like to follow along with all the activities of the program, you can connect with the Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguard page on Facebook.
Plaza Pacifica, my first location!
On Lifeguard Duty!
My new lil helper!
So sweet, my lil Tigre
My original table set up in front of Plaza Pacifica
Tigre wants to go somewhere!
Oh, Tigre, make yourself comfortable!
She always had something to say…