There are numerous activities to enjoy on a Sunday morning at Coco Beach: visiting the farmer’s market, having a delightful brunch with friends, or simply relishing the town at your own pace. However, among the many options available, one stands out—a volunteering activity. I often find myself reflecting on Kennedy’s famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” In this case, I adopt a similar mindset, asking not what Coco Beach can provide me, but what I can contribute to Coco Beach.
Every Sunday, the Coco Beach Community Development Association (ADICOCO) convenes on the beach to organize cleanup activities. On May 14th of this year, a special cleanup event took place, in collaboration with individuals from The Clean Wave, dedicated to collecting waste from the ocean.
Organizing a cleanup may seem like an easy task but it is not. First, one needs a blueprint, obtain the implements, have a chronogram, and most importantly, people to execute it. Coco Beach is a relatively young town with locals living here for up to five generations. We are now several thousand people living in this region, but it is still challenging to maintain a steady number of volunteers at these organized cleanups. This has been a constant activity since September 2021 when ADICOCO started this program and we are seeing now more volunteers who are willing to commit their time to this noble cause.
Andrés is one enthusiastic guy from The Clean Wave. Their organization focuses on energizing and enabling communities to be empowered so they can make meaningful impacts and zero waste commitments. They’ve been working since last month with ADICOCO and on May 14th they collected more than 40 Kgs of waste. Waste is not only collected from the beach shore but from the ocean as well. This is why The Clean Wave has partnered with BA Divers, a company from town that is committed to responsible diving practices and sustainability in the marine environment. It is great to see organizations working together, as BA Divers understand the value of a clean ocean for their business model and primarily to protect all marine life. Throughout their work, they have expanded their monitoring and research activities to better understand the challenges of marine ecosystems.
Another important piece in this joint cleanup effort is Cindy Winter from ADICOCO, who was sharing with me stories about how the activity has helped strengthen the collaboration among neighbors and even developed new generations of leaders and community organizers in town. “This hasn’t been easy but we always count on someone to help. Sometimes there are just a few of us and some other times – for example now with The Clean Wave – we have a number of volunteers committed to improving things. Consistency is key and I’m glad we’re enabling the opportunity to get more people involved.”
I definitely admire the strength and discipline of the people gathering every week to make this town a cleaner one. I’m looking forward to joining them in the future. When it comes to organized public clean-up events like this one, opinions vary. Some individuals argue against picking up others’ trash, as they believe it may be seen as condoning their littering behavior. On the other hand, some applaud such efforts and acknowledge the necessity of participating in cleaning activities, although they may not engage in them. Lastly, some individuals dedicate their time to giving back to the community.
I think everybody has opportunities to enjoy their time doing something they like. If you don’t have a big social circle or network I do recommend joining a volunteering program like this one! As well these activities enable us to demonstrate to younger generations the importance of collective action.
If you want to join one of the cleanups you can contact Cindy on Whatsapp and she’ll be more than happy to share more details. I’d like to thank all the volunteers from The Clean Wave and ADICOCO for their generous support, I also want to express gratitude to the anonymous heroes who, day after day, engage in small acts of triumph for the betterment of our community. To those of you who greet a stranger with a kind “good morning” or pick up litter, I extend my heartfelt thanks. Your value is immeasurable.
DelCocoBlog Contributing Author:
Santiago (Santi) Vega is a Costa Rican wonderer and entrepreneur living in Coco Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica since 2021. Santi lived in various countries across Europe and Central/North America and worked in the fields of international cooperation, project management, and management consulting. His current interests derive from his travels and learning experiences as well as his multicultural upbringing. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Carrillo Chamber of Commerce and is the Co-Founder and Growth Strategist of Primario Enterprises.