When we founded Uku Global, our mission was to give back and help out as many communities as possible through the universal language of music. In August, we made our first steps towards that goal with a trip to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica to snap some photographs and help the local community acquire an AED for their local beach. An AED is a defibrillator that is a lightweight and battery-operated. It is a portable device that checks the heart’s rhythm and sends a shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm.
Costa Ricans often say “Pura Vida,” a phrase that translates to “simple life” or “pure life”. For locals and members of Costa Rica’s vibrant communities, Pura Vida is not just a phrase, it’s a lifestyle. If you talk to locals in Costa Rica, many will tell you how they interpret the meaning of Pura Vida – to live kindly, enjoy the little things, cherish the moment, and help others. This lifestyle resonated with Uku and we found this phrase to align well with our brand identity and message.
Manuel Antonio is a beautiful beach community in Costa Rica. The beach is the heartbeat of the community. Surf schools, parasailing boats, and chair rental companies are scattered throughout the beach. When we arrived, we teamed up with professional photographer, Kevin Heslin and locals Nicole McHargue and Charlie Suarez. Nicole and Charlie had previously set up a GoFundMe campaign to get an AED on the beach, and in exchange for their help setting up locations, models, and props, Uku agreed to help provide the remaining funds needed to get the AED!
Nicole and Charlie informed us that a few weeks prior, a man experienced a heart attack on the beach. Without and AED, he was unable to be revived. This awful experience sat heavy on the minds of Manuel Antonio’s residents. Nicole and Charlie realized they needed to take action and help her beach get the proper equipment it needed to prevent events like this from happening. Not only did they want to provide this life-saving equipment, they wanted it to be centralized so anyone on the beach could access it.
We ended up heading to Costa Rica during peak rainy season, which allowed for huge cloud formations and sunsets unlike anywhere we had ever seen. Throughout our stay, we experienced beautiful blue skies during the day and dramatic lighting and thunderstorms during the evenings. This tropical paradise provided us with awesome photographs and incredibly scenic moments that we will remember forever. After a week of shooting and hanging out with Kevin, Nicole, and Charlie, we headed back home! Kevin ended up getting beautiful shots – which you can see on our pages!
This week, we received some amazing news from our friends in Costa Rica – the AED has arrived on the beach in Manuel Antonio! We couldn’t be more happy that this device is available for everyone to use and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to help make it happen!
For more of Kevin Heslin’s work click here – https://kevinheslinphoto.com (Costa Rican Photographer)