Over the past couple of days we have had quite a lot of adventures. Yesterday, we hiked near the top of Santa Catarina and saw some agricultural land. It was made up of many small plots for families to grow what they wanted. It’s so cool how the pueblo is stacked up on itself; it has so much depth. It goes up and up into the mountains and there are many more homes than you would expect at first glance. In lecture, we learned about the different sections of lakes and the typical lake’s behavior. During lecture Ana, a member of the group Amigos de Lago, came and talked to us (in Spanish) about all of the different things they are trying to do to help the state of the lake. In the night, we prepared more decomposition bags while we watched Young Frankenstein.
Today, we had lecture on the aquatic biome and all the different types of organisms that reside in the Atitlan watershed. Luisa, a lady working for the local government, came and Eliska showed her around and talked with her about lots of different things about the lake. In our next lecture, we learned about the Nicaragua canal situation. A Chinese company got a contract with the Nicaraguan government to build a canal through Nicaragua’s waters and lake, which will be much longer and larger than the Panama Canal. This proposed canal WILL destroy the entire ecosystem of Nicaragua and possibly part of northern Costa Rica and displace over 30,000 people. It is proposed to help Nicaragua’s economy but it is quite possible it can hurt it from the damage on its ecosystem and its people. It is infuriating that this has gotten so far and the people involve in its development are only thinking of the possible economic benefits and have not even considered the effect on the countries ecosystem and people.
In the afternoon, a small group of us went to Panajachel and explored more of the town. I got a few things for myself such as a tea mug and a handmade button up shirt and I also bought a couple gifts for people. When we got back we had a visit from Ricardo, another member of Amigos de Lago, and we talked with him for a while. Later, we learned how to filter water samples with large syringes to prepare a test to see how many particulates and dissolved things are in the water.
Tomorrow, we will be going to Antigua, a very old town that originated as a Spanish colony. On our way to Antigua we will also visit some Mayan ruins. I’m very excited because we will have lots of time to explore Antigua and see the culture. This experience so far has been fantastic. It is so interesting seeing how other people in the world live and experiencing part of it with them. I can’t believe we are close to being a quarter of the way through already. I wish we had an extra week or so here so it wouldn’t be so quick. My travel bug has been born and I am sure I will travel much more in the future. Anyway, we are getting up at 5:30 tomorrow since Antigua is a couple hours from here so I guess I’ll stop for now. More on the way soon.