By Linda Reijnders
For years I have been practicing sports at the actual only real sport park in Aruba. Parke Curason at Jaburibari is a fenced park with covered basketball field, football field, BMX racing track, skateboard field, workout stations, kid’s play garden and a paved walking/running/biking path of 750 meter. It is located in the neighborhood Jaburibari and a popular spot for locals. If you would like to ‘meet the locals’, join in on some basketball games and sniff some ‘coulure local’, this is the place. But, for me, the cherry on the pie is the dedication of the ‘father’ of the park to his job: meet George Forbes.
Face of the Place
There are people that just do their job and there are people that make a difference in the way they do their job. Forbes makes a difference when you visit Parke Curason. He greets visitors, walks around to take off helping a kid pump his football or pointing out a bump in the runway to a jogger. He even is concerned with the cars that enter and directs them to an available parking spot. He is to most people of the park ‘the face of the place’ and many times we forget to thank people like him to stand out like this.
150 daily visitors
Aruba Today had a little chat with Forbes. “I work here since 13 years and I love everything about my job. I am supervisor and security. The people come here every day and the connection with them makes me happy.” He explains that for a day the park gets about 150 visitors. “That is the average, it can be more in the weekend.” All nations and all ages are represented, indeed a multicultural all-generation park. The park he believes exists 14 years now, so he was here from almost the beginning.
“The park at that time looked amazing, everything was new and in good shape. More and more people are coming now, the Aruban people love sports more now and that is good. Comparing to the past it got better, that is why we need to focus on maintaining the park”, George explains. He likes to do sports himself, and he is always walking around to help young and old. “I am not somebody that sits in a corner making my money. There are a lot of things we need to take care of to prevent accidents.” For George, his goal is to continue making the people happy and see the park fixed up. “I hope that the promised maintenance will come to reality very soon. It is very important as this park has a crucial role.”
BMX training spot
Jaymer Carolina, BMX-er, confirms the importance of the park to his sport: “The park is my training field. I train here 6 times a week from 5 to 7 pm.” His club is called Rough Riders Aruba where he rides in the 17-24 age category. “But next season I am planning to race elite, the pros. It’s all about adrenaline, speed, style and also trying to work your way up to the first place.” Not only is the park a home to BMX groups, also basketball teams, football groups, skateboard fanatics, little children, bikers, runners and walkers find their way. And after all it is also a social gathering spot. Like Daniel Tromp says: “This park allows me to practice my sports, BMX, and therefore I can race abroad. But this is also where I meet my friends. The park is in high need of maintenance and I hope this will be done soon and the government takes her responsibility in this.” This opinion is shared by Sharitza Henriquez who likes to walk in the park. “There is a lot of lacked maintenance like the workout stations.” For George this is nothing new, he sees his park every day and is concerned about the state of it. “I welcome more and more people every time which is positive, but we need to fix things.”
Parke Curason is open daily from 5 am – 8.45 pm