San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Green Turtle Awards $1,000 to Driver

WHEN José Ángel Agüero heard hewon $1,000 in cash and merchandise, hisfirst thought was for the necklace he wouldlike to give his wife.Agüero, his wife Ivannia Berjarano andtheir four children accepted the prize in theform of a colossal check handed over byGreen Turtle Souvenir Outlet ownerRichard Lacey. The windfall was the payouton a lucky draw in a free Christmas raffleLacey held for community membersand crafts makers around his arts and craftsstore in Alajuela, northwest of San José.“This is a good motivation to keep recommendingthis place,” Agüero, a shuttledriver for the nearby Hampton Inn, said.The prize value – $500 for in-storemerchandise and $500 cash – is triple thatof his monthly income.The adults don’t have grandiose plansfor the money – they said they would use itto pay off some debts and buy householdnecessities – but their children, four boysages 4-16, were running the numbers ontheir shopping basket credit before they hitthe aisles. They wanted a hammock, adrum and hats, and the youngest,“Angelito,” 4, had his eye on a woodencrocodile.Agüero wanted to give his wife,Ivannia Berjarano, a necklace, he said, andafter that, maybe some shirts for the kids.The raffle was Lacey’s contribution tothe community in which he set up shop justover a year ago. He would like for it to bethe first of many such drawings, with thenext one planned for Easter.“You feel good giving to someone likehim (Agüero), who earns so little,” Laceysaid.The Green Turtle offers 10,000 craftsin wood, ceramic, jewelry and leather,among other products from 150 CostaRican crafts makers. It gives a percentageof its profits to sea turtle conservationgroups. The store is near the JuanSantamaría International Airport, behindthe Hampton Inn. For information, call430-0211.

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