Last year, while Byron was doing some maintenance work at Parasasa Beach, Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao volunteer Marie Louise, who was visiting the beach, stopped for a little chat. She told Byron and his colleagues that she just came back from monitoring 13 beaches in Band’Abou for turtle nests. Byron thought that was incredible, and his curiosity was piqued. Luckily, Marie Louise invited Byron to join her on one of her monitoring rounds. Byron gladly accepted, and the rest is history.
Byron has been monitoring the beaches in Band’Abou from the start of the nesting seasons in 2021. He is always happy to be in Band’Abou, to him Band’Abou feels different, magical even. Walking on the beaches in search of turtle tracks, Byron feels at peace, it relaxes him. Furthermore, it keeps him in shape, and health is very important, he explains. But what he loves most about being in nature is the feeling of freedom.
From since he was a kid, Byron loved the freedom nature offered. He would spend hours roaming the mondi (woods), filling his belly with different fruits he picked along the way. At age 12, Byron moved to the Netherlands, but after 17 years, it was time to return home. He missed his family and the feeling of home, and he missed his life outdoors.
Volunteering for STCC gives him back some of what he missed. Beach monitoring in Band’Abou combines everything Byron loves: “magical Band’Abou, freedom, being outdoors, staying fit and interacting with people. On the beach you meet people, they are often interested in what we are doing, I like to talk to them and explain stuff, but they also teach me things that I didn’t know”, says Byron. Aside from this, Byron also feels good that he is protecting turtles: “it is very rewarding to know that you are doing something useful”. Volunteering changed my perspective, Byron continues. It made me think differently about the quality that I am able to give. Volunteer work is voluntary, no one forces you to do it, you are not going to do it if you are not interested or not enthusiastic or passionate. So, you are able to give quality and go the extra mile, without thinking about what you will earn or what it costs you. Not everything has to be linked to money to be satisfying. Our work at STCC is extremely valuable and very rewarding.
– Written by Amber Scholtsbergh