It was another beautiful sunny day on Playa Yankee in southern Nicaragua, it is safe to say everyday is beautiful here, and we just arrived to our surf spot where the waves were just calling our names.
As we hopped out of the pick-up truck that drove us to this perfect beach spot, I noticed a young boy, seeming all alone staring at the sand from a distance. After a second look I noticed that he was walking along with a massive sea turtle!! I decided to go and see what was going on.
When I came closer my heart was filled with joy and my eyes began to tear up. Slow step by slow step with the hot sun beating down on the turtle and the boy, this young boy, no more than 7 or 8 years old was helping the sea turtle back to the ocean. The sea turtle had just laid her eggs on the beach and was on a 300 yard turtle speed journey back to the ocean.
As you may know there are many predators that prey on sea turtles and their eggs and the journey back to sea can be ruthless for the turtle. This was not the case today, as the young boy walked beside the turtle to ensure its safety.
Specifically for sea turtles in Nicaragua, it is been a difficult road of survival. Historically, Nicaraguans would capture and kill sea turtles for their meat and steal the eggs for certain Nicaragua dishes. It had become so bad that the sea turtle was facing extinction. Fortunately the Nicaragua government recently implemented a law that made it illegal with a mandated prison sentence, not just a fine! This along with environmental organizations educating the Nicaragua people has made a positive impact on the population of the sea turtle.
Thought today, this moment was a part of something bigger for me. As you may know I spent 2 years living and working in Nicaragua. During my time living there I witnessed many accounts of animal cruelty by Nicaraguans. From deliberately running over street dogs with cars to letting horses die from starvation as they lay on the highway. These experiences jaded my view on human animal relations in Nicaragua and hardened my heart towards Nicaraguans. I started to think that all hope was lost for having compassion for animals in Nicaragua.
For me this situation was a reminder of (3) very important life lessons.
1. No matter how dark the world seems there is always someone living a life out of love and compassion and that this is the true fabric of humanity. And just as I became jaded and lost hope, this so commonly happens to all of us. Therefore we act out of fear and anger towards others and animals, not because we are inherently bad people but because we too are looking for love and compassion but have not received it enough themselves. It is a viscous cycle.
2. Always choose Love. Simply remember that we are all fighting a battle inside based out of not receiving love.
3. EDUCATION IS EVERYTHING! If people don’t understand what they are doing they can easily commit some of the most horrific acts in the world while thinking it is completely justified and correct… Remember how our homeboy Jesus died?? Or what about slavery? Maybe the German Natzis? The list could go on and on of how humans have fucked up the world, but I will stop there because I am sure you get the point….
Back to the story……………
As the sea turtle slowly approached the edge of the water, we had all gathered around both the boy and the sea turtle. Finally after a long journey, the big old amphibian dove into a wave and then, suddenly, an enormous applaud from all of us erupted. Knowing that boy could have easily stole the eggs and sold them for money, it was emotionally beautiful to see that he chose compassion over greed.
I think we all could relate to that turtle in some way or another and it sure was good to know that, at least for this time, she was safely back to sea to patiently wait for her eggs to hatch. She will return in two months to guide the baby sea turtles to the ocean and the circle of life for the sea turtle will continue.
Oh…. And we were able to catch some gnarly waves shortly after!!!!
Until next time, Cheers!