If you’ve driven down to Merizo within the past week, you may have spotted a unique looking Christmas tree made out of more than a hundred husked coconuts.
It all started when Merizo residents Abby and Steven Cruz went to their local elementary school to hold a coconut decorating contest. Around 150 coconuts were hand-painted by students of all ages and unbeknownst to them and their teachers, the Cruzes would take their finished work to build a Christmas tree in front of the Merizo church for everyone in the village to see.
According to Abby, who thought of the project, she wanted a way to connect the community together.
“We wanted to interact with the tourists, locals, those from up north and central. We’ve been here for the past three weeks and this past week, every day… and we wanted interaction with them to paint,” Abby said.
The project has been gaining traction ever since construction of the tree started within the last month.
According to Mike Tajalle, who has been helping the project, local residents, tourists, and even people off-island have been wanting to leave their mark on the tree. Residents who are ill have even called in to request for blessings of good health for them.
“It’s so touching. I’m just so overwhelmed, you know. Without these two’s support, this thing wouldn’t have been done. They made that effort. It’s so touching when they drive by with their bicycle and they say, “There’s my picture!” Nothing can beat that,” Tajalle said.
Steven says that there are a few spots left for anyone interested in painting a part of the tree and he is inviting everyone to see it.
“We just hope everybody has the chance to come down and see it. It’s unique. People have said that they have never seen anything like it. It’s local. You’re on the most beautiful village. What better place can you put something like that? It’s an awesome view,” Steven said.