In the spirit of Earth Day, Xandari held a river clean-up last week along the Tacacorí River, which not only is the hotel’s primary supply for irrigation but also the local town’s. Similar to the community street clean-up we led last September and years prior, the purpose of this event was to remove any garbage along the river starting from the river spring and through the length of the property, which amounts to about 1km. Unlike the last clean-up, however, this one was of a smaller, and damper, scale. The return of dark, ominous clouds and sporadic showers within the last week marked the end of the dry season, so the clean-up was scheduled just in time before the monstrous downpours of the rainy season could sweep any garbage downriver.
For this occasion, only staff members were involved. Fourteen employees wearing old work shirts and heavy rubber boots gathered around under the early morning rays on Tuesday and expectantly waited for directions regarding the event’s run-through. Of the fourteen employees, I was the only woman in group, which I like to think makes me one of the “tough guys.”
This was the second group clean-up I organized, and while I had more confidence in organizing this event, planning and coordinating with others was just as elaborate as the previous time. I was fortunate to have several river clean-up veterans in the group to help me get the group prepared and give the first-timers (like me) some reassurance. I was part of the group of six members that cleaned the section of the river within the hotel’s property, while a group of eight braved the section from the river spring to the property’s outer limit, a tighter and more mountainous stretch of the river.
The clean-up lasted two and half hours, and consisted of a lot of cautious stepping through river banks, digging and pulling soggy waste material, and best of all, jovial chitchat and teasing amongst colleagues. In total the group recollected 140kg of garbage and 80kg of recyclable material which amounts to a quarter of the total material recollected the previous time, a very encouraging sign of our efforts, but not exactly inspiring when you consider the amount of trash in the waterway that represents.
After the laborious efforts of the men and one woman (let’s not forget!), the most obvious benefit of the event is that the river is now less polluted and animals have less risk of eating or getting stuck in harmful material. However, another gratifying outcome I observed as I gazed upon the group of boisterous men giving each other pats on the back, is the rekindled spirit of camaraderie and solidarity that is so distinctive of the Xandari family.