Charlie BerghammerMaking a Difference

El Coquito Hotel

For many residents living in Aguirre County, the year 2009 will be the saddest in the annals of Matapalo Beach history.  Due to the complicated laws and regulations which govern the Maritime Zone, many hard working residents on the beach lost their homes and businesses as well as their personal belongings during the parade of destruction which reigned down some months ago.

This months Making a Difference, is dedicated to the collective efforts of these same Matapalo community members who joined together and made an effort to restore what could be salvaged of our precious gem community on the ocean.

For those who are new to the column, here below are the principles of this ideal to citizen action.

1. Inspire Change. Provide information highlighting some of our communities biggest challenges, raise awareness and motivate others to take action.

2. Build Community. Connect people with others who share the same vision for change and help them create networks to put plans into motion.

3. Facilitate Action. Offer tools for community members and visitors to our area to make commitments to act and track their progress and results.

4. Strengthen Engagement. Encourage citizen action throughout our local area and Costa Rica by the cultivation of partnerships with other world organizations like Sister Cities International to address our specific needs.

The newly refurbished El Coquito Hotel in Playa Matapalo attest to the spirit and success of those 4 fore mentioned principles.  This community dedication enabled one hotel owner, to pick up the pieces of one such hotel, Jungle House and go forward with optimism for a brighter and prosperous future.

The hotel now boast the VOLUNTARY participation of the talents from every spectrum of life in our small beachside community…from  the gardens created by our Italian friend Eduardo, to the creation of the new menu by Chef Armando Montoya from La Mansion Inn in Manuel Antonio.  The support players like Carmen Trummer from Dreamy Contentment as well as Keinor and Jason from the Pulperia El Mar who on countless occasion loaned us cases of beer and sodas to sell at the beach because we had no revenue with which to purchase these same provisions.

Greg and Melissa Anderson, local expats here who contributed their rich pool of ideas for the aesthetics and successful operation of the NEW Coquito Hotel Restaurant and Bar.  Pablo Alvarez, who donated his time to the electronic marketing of the new web site dedicated to El Coquito, as well as a special thanks to Chris Cobb for his generous contribution in the creation of the new web site for El Coquito.

I am so proud of and give a special recognition to the Matapalo Beach Lifeguards, led by Bobby Workman and Matilda Perez, who have given selflessly of themselves, hour after hour to lift up El Coquito and giving it a new face as well as giving Matapalo Beach a fresh and safe beginning insuring ocean safety first.

They are Daniel Valverde, Manuel Berghammer, Jairo Jimeniz,  Frank Lopez, and Luis Carreno. These young lifeguards put their lives at risk each day to preserve the life of another.  This month alone they executed 4 rescues of ASVO volunteers.  For me there is no higher act of nobility.

These community members came through volunteering their time, talent and resources to make a difference in the life of one person, getting me back on track for 2010.  I owe a debt of immense gratitude to these good-willed neighbors and friends.

A final thank you to Ana Lyons who continually uplifts and guides me in this Coquito venture and who along with Pat Cheek have allowed me the privilege to highlight these special community members who are Making a Difference!