Every country has people who are wonderfully valuable, who carry out an authentic, admirable environmental fight. In the case of Costa Rica, we were talking exclusively with Zeidy Jiménez Tabash.
Costa Rican by birth and has spent most of her years working for ecological actions of the country. She was born in San José in the Hospital district because her grandparents were from there, then her parents returned to the rural area of Daniel Flores, in the Pérez Zeledón district, there she married a Venezuelan and in 1986 she left for Dominical, where she has lived to this day.
She grew up in a rural area, in a small space, maybe 1/2 block of land. Her maternal grandfather, was part of his family nucleus and he had a very special relationship with the land, they had fruit trees 1 or 2 of each species: avocados, custard apple, Chinese and wild suckling fruit, grapefruit, soursop, mangoes, medlar, peach, even sweet lemon. He, too, planted medicinal plants and some ornamental ones. Her father was a farmer who produced sweet chili, tomato and tobacco, Zeidy from a very young age knew the situation of the small farmer. Her mother had chickens and ducks.
Her beginnings with the turtles
Zeidy recalled that when she was little, her father would bring her, her mother and brothers turtle eggs and “added some delicious sauces.” In this regard, her father told her that the carts (cargo taxis) came out so loaded with Dominical’s turtles that they came almost hitting the floor, “so I always heard those stories and they stuck with me. When I arrived in Dominical It was like my madness to ask if there were turtles and people never told me, that I was crazy, people who had lived there for years. But later, I found a woman who is a resident of Mariela de Ureña de Dominical and she said that yes, the turtles spawned in her patio, in the kitchen, in the rooms because they lived there on the pure beach and there was not so much electricity or anything else”. And so little by little her fascination with turtles was generated, knowing their species, their care, and documenting them.
Collection center, training through talks and turtle care
In 2000, a small group was created with talks and educational tours for children about Sea Turtles and Mangroves. “We began to patrol for the care of the turtles, and it is incredible that the government and the institutions that say -protect- do not help us, you will see that on Sunday that there are 2 in a half km of beach and that much of it with rocks, we have the presence of five species of sea turtles of the seven that exist in the world. We registered Leatherback, a Caretta Caretta, Chelonia Mudas Mydas, among others; we had a black turtle, they say Prieta, also the green one from the Pacific”, said the environmentalist.
They have documented with witnesses, with photos and everything, but most of all, there are many interests on the beaches, so they have had problems for almost 30 years. They take turns in guarding the turtles, things have happened to them like, once they were (unknowingly) accompanied by egg thieves and then they went and looted them, “as we could, we made a nursery with the help of the Golfito coast guards. There is a lot of political pressure. After six months they took the coast guard away from us with pretexts, we continued by ourselves writing down, and recording. I’m a tourist guide too,” she adds.
After that small group that made the tours, they contacted a specialist biologist, the group grew, they created a collection center to gather solid waste, plastics and aluminum to finance the trips, at that time (year 2000), the brewery Barú, rewarded the exchange of bottles for basketball, soccer, volleyball balls and also to the group that collected the most, they gave a computer, “we were in second place at the national level once and later we noticed that those products could be sold, we started with an additional collection center in the Sunday school.” The collection center has had a lot of support from the universities, more than from the community.
She has been participating in many environmental struggles, and has been working in the Dominical community for 20 years or more, cleaning beaches, by sectors, with groups that divided responsibilities.
The fight of the Barú River has been one of the struggles that Zeidy has had, along with his colleagues from the APSD (Association of Sunday Social Programs); also from Dominicalito beach, at the national level in an organization called Anhaco (National Association of Coastal Inhabitants), which is still requesting the title of the 150 meters of the land maritime zone, “we started with the project in 2003, I have been with the struggles accompanied in many of them by my two daughters”.
She has been very radical with her beliefs and struggles
Regarding the Barú River, the fight began in 2005, there was a company called Ronalisa SA that has a file in Setena to exploit the river, “but these people were given a certain route and they began to advance, advance and before we knew it hey were already on the main bridge, they already had routes, roads and we talked to them. There is no person to regulate this situation; we filed an appeal for protection and it was disregarded, because there is an institutional geologist who defended them. But someone realized that we were in the fight and sent us a photo on a disk about the company affevting the ecosystem, which we presented to the Fourth Chamber and with that we won the appeal for protection.”
Now the town is organized, her two daughters are 100% activists sowing, collecting, working with the collection center. There are young people with a group that was formed who have a surf school, they are worried about the exploitation of the river, because it directly affected tourism.
A great conscience
For Zeidy, a great conscience has been created about the turtles, although they have wanted to discredit them, even organizations that say they are “environmentalists”, say that what they are doing is a lie, that they are crazy. “About a year ago a young man from the group called me and told me that they were in Playa Hermosa and that they were releasing some turtles in a natural nest, that fills me with great pride, that is, the teachings that we give to the new generations, it’s positive.”
“One of the biggest struggles we have had, the eviction of the affectation on Playa Dominicalito.” And so … Another fight over deforestation was called coastal row protection, the people of Punta Dominical S.A incredibly deforested, poisoned trees to make them sick and more.
Zeidy, is one of those citizens who have been determined to train and educate young people, her attention to turtles has been extraordinary, bravo for her and her group of environmentalists!