Bangor student helps to put the Bribri tribe on the ecotourist trail

May 2, 2003

When the Bribri tribe decided to bring ecotourism to the rainforests of Central America, they naturally turned to Bangor University.

Paola Dyboski will trade walks to the lecture theatre for paddling a dugout canoe into deep forest when she embarks on a placement with the indigenous Indian people in a remote part of Costa Rica.

The 33-year-old student is taking her two young children with her and plans to spend a month with the tribe helping them develop a sustainable ecotourism project to support the community.

Ms Dyboski, who is completing her second year studying tourism with Spanish, was invited to the rainforest after she approached a number of environmental groups.

She said: "I have been invited to write an account of their oral history and traditions for possible use in an ecotourism project.

"There is little published information about the Bribri. They have a god called Sibo, who, according to their beliefs, gave them the earth and all the plants in it as gifts to take care of. Their religion is by its nature ecological and conservationist.

"The people of the region speak Spanish and Bribri. They have an oral culture, and I hope I will do credit to the task I have been given," she added.

Ms Dyboski has spent time researching leatherback turtles in Trinidad and Tobago and six months in the Venezuelan rainforest. But she admits that taking her three-year-old and six-year-old children with her will be a challenge.

"Taking them so far worries me a little, but I felt that this represents a life opportunity for us all not to be missed," she said.

Ms Dyboski is seeking sponsorship for her trip, which begins on June 15.

For more details, contact Ms Dyboski at

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