Guillermo Ástua Zúñiga, known as Memo Madriz

Guillermo Ástua Zuninga - Pioneer - Photo by Dagmar Reinhard

Guillermo Ástua Zuninga – Pioneer – Photo by Dagmar Reinhard

In 1956, Memo and his parents left Turrialba to move to his godparents’ farm called La Concepción. For Memo, only 10 years old, school and games had finished. He had to work in the fields everyday milking cows, riding horses, roping cattle. He used to feel very proud of himself. Every two weeks, they rode to San Isidro to take livestock to the fair. In those times, around year 1965, a cow was sold for ¢200.

When he was 16, Memo fell in love with Marita Gómez Adanis, who lived with her parents in Barú. They could only see each other occasionally from a distance. Three years went by before Memo could steal a kiss from her. They got married in 1964 in the old school in Dominical, and the entire village was invited to the feast.

Rancho Memo - Photo by Dagmar Reinhard

Rancho Memo – Photo by Dagmar Reinhard

When he was 20, Memo began working at Hotel Chirripó in San Isidro earning ¢1,40 an hour. When he decided to return to Dominical 6 years later, the owner of the hotel compensated him with a little store in Dominical, which became Rancho Memo later on, and the adjacent parcel, Dominical’s soccer field today.

Rancho Memo was the meeting point. People came from all over the place. Marita ran the business while taking care of the children and the house. Memo had a transport business with his little truck. In 1978, Memo’s godparents sold the farm, and he stayed as the caretaker. Squatters invaded the farm, and it took him three years to get them out. In revenge, they burned his Rancho. Fortunately, the solidarity of his friends was overwhelming: all helped to rebuild Rancho Memo.

Memo is still married to Marita. They have children and grandchildren and are a very united family.

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