History of the chuchecas and the Kaithe

History of the chuchecas and the Kaithe

People from Puntarenas are called Chuchequeros.

Don Cayetano, from Puntarenas, 68 years (he died at age 72 Q.D.E.P) of hard work and honor, explains, as a form introduction, that the name Kaithe comes from Nicragua. His grandfather brought the name over, as that´s how he was called when he worked for the National Guard in that Company. The old manu sed Nicaraguan farming shoes and were basically made from strips of leather. And from then on they called him Cabo Kaithe. His real name was Julián López Gómez. The ancestors of Cayetano founded a family Company dedicated to the sale of mollusks to fuel businesses. They traveled to Abangares by sailboat or in pangas that they rowed. At the age of seven, his father gave him the job of collecting the shellfish during the day making the most of the low tides. Cayetano saw that this was dangerous because the tides rose very quickly he had to get on the boat as quickly as posible, the strong currents would bring a large quantity of sharks, Sting rays and sword fish with them. He explains that, according to stories told by the ancestors of this área, the área was populated by a multitude of mussels many years ago, but one day a tragedy ocuured that stayed in the minds of the residents. It is said that a fishing boat entered the Golf called “ La Mano” This boat came to the área to fish small sardines called anchovies, that they used as bait for larger fish such as tuna. This sardine was also called “galleras”. One day the community decided to prohibit the entry of this man to the Golf.

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A as a cruel revenge insecticide, which then Killed off the mussels and other wáter species. The severity of what happened, is supported by the Fact that in the Abangares dead mussels or shells that will never open, have been found. Almost like silent witnesses, when the tide goes down, you kill be able to see thousands of shells stuck to the walls. It may look like it was nature that put them there as testimony of the cruelty that they received. The Shell is used on mosaics and for medicinal purposes. For example, to remove sun blemishes, you wash the shells and marinate the juice with lemons, leaving them open over night. The lemon removes a mass from the Shell that serves as pomade. There is also a beach Shell that is called Calnegua. Remove the back off the Shell and mix it with camphor and pork fat. With this mixture you can alleviate arthritis. Cayetano told us that everyone that uses a boat to go through the mangroves is called piangüero , but in the past they were called Chuchequeros, because they only took out mussels to sell. From this world the nickname “CHUCHEQUEROS”, is given to the inhabitants of the Province of Punatrenas. Many People made a living from this activity as there were an abundance of mussels; the basic meals were made from mussels. They sold part of what they had fished ₡ 0,50 (centimos) a day. During this time this amount was a lot of money. Cayetano told us that since his was a Young child; his parents took him to the mangroves. He traveled in the arms of his mother and when they arrived at a place to stop, his father sat him on a mangrove branch and threw a piece of canvas on top protect him from the sun. He then put down planks on the ground where his mother cooked. When the strong northerly waves blew the familiy stayed in the same place for up to 15 days. There they had breakfast, lunch and dined on mussels. In addition, beacuse there was an abundance of Fruit tres, they complemented their diet with almonds, mangos and mamones. You catch pianguas (small mollusks) by putting your hand in along side the routes of the mangroves. This is the same method used to catch clams. You can see the mussel easily, and can find them using a Little tact, because when you feel around you should be able to feel something hard that is like a Shell.

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You can also see the movements they make when they shut their shells to protect themselves, and litle bubbles of oxygen rise to the Surface giving away their hiding space. Cayetano has had to confront danger on a few occasions like the time when he put his hand in the wáter to take out a mussel and touched a sea snake or a Lora fish. The boat also turned over, hed had to stand on the side and empty out all the mussels he had caught so that he could make the boat float again. When the shelfish sales went down, they stored them in the estuary and they used to chop Wood for sale. These days were very difficult for everyone, as his father was paid ₡ 20 ( colon)  for every thousand logs, with that he could by the provisions for the month, clothes for his mother and seven brothers. His father bought a pigs head 0r 12 jumbo praws for ₡ 1 (a colon). Cayetano had forgotten to tell us that his grandmother Doña Antonieta was the owner of the Plaza de Los Kaithes. That became famous because of the football matches that were held there during the sunny aftermoons. On this land, where the Gimnasio Municipal currently stands as well as the wáter tanks for the community, there are several entrances to the mangrove estuaries called; Puerto Alto, Pitaya, Capota, Zapotal, Puerto Zacate, Islita, Las Ramas, Tablón and as far as Chomes. There is also an área which is known as the Costa de Pajaros entering the Moraga Estuary and the Rio Grande de Abangares. There are several types of mangroves such as the Gato, the Piñuela, the Mariquita, the Caballero and the Salado. The Gato mangrove is used for fuel. In rowing boats, or with motoboards on the outskirts, you can travel many kilometers. For exemple the Capotal estuary has an extensión of 4 Km, the Islita estuary has two arms, one is called Tromponal and the other Carao. To get to these mangroves, it takes around 20 minutes in a rowing boat some five minutes on a motor boat on the outskirts, leaving the Puntarenas estuary. With respect to the existing mangrove fauna, you will find the White faced monkey , iguanas, snakes, such as the Becker, caimans, crocodiles, pelicans and the cormorant. This last bird has a stylized figure and opens its wings to dry. The mangrove estuaries are good to go fishing. The ideal bait to catch this fish is the Marinera that is a crab that lives in the mangroves and is a delicacy for the Pargo, Pez Vieja, Pez Roncador, and the large Róbalo. The peace and the tranquility of this área invite tourists to visit it. Cayetano kindly gave us a few récipes to prepare with mussels. 1. With Chile, spices and lemon. 2. In Soup. 3. With rice. 4. In sauce fried or grilled. ¡ENJOY¡

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Jorge Espinoza Ponce known as the Kaithe. The legacy that the lady taught him Marta Cerna (Q.D.E.P), Josefa Cerna (Q.D.E.P) great-grandmother and one of the founders of the Kaithes, Julia Cerna (Q.D.E.P), another founder and mother of Cayetano, Pedro Cerna (Q.D.E.P), Clemente Cerna (Q.D.E.P), Lupe Cerna (Q.D.E.P), to Mr Alepan “La Gata” Cabrales they told him Kaithe Blanco because he was the only white skin in the family. Teresa Cernas (Q.D.E.P), and her husband Serbulo Zúñiga (Q.D.E.P), he was the one who founded the Kaithe Negro.