Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cerro de la Muerte didn’t mean death for us!

The misty rain and muddy terrain was not the most inviting environment on Saturday morning, but it was our last environmental science trip and we had no choice but to enter the muddy mountain bog. After an adventurous hike and more time in the bus, we arrived at Cerro de la Muerte to study hummingbirds. The tiny creatures, displaying an array of iridescent colors, were so delicate and busy busy busy! We were studying the hummingbird feeders, filled with sugar water, to measure the effects on the hummingbirds and the flowers. The sugar water does not have the same nutrients found in nectar, and the feeders could be a deterrent from pollinating flowers. Although we have yet to analyze our data, we enjoyed the opportunity to observe hundreds of these little creatures and even hold them in our hands! We also faced the challenge of a difficult Sunday morning hike…
"I don't think I can make it," was a line that ran through many of our heads as we steadily continued up the mountain. Each step seemed to move in slow motion; each one hurting more than the one before. It seemed as if it was raining but in actuality the water was a mixture of tears and sweat from all the climbers. It had come to a point where there was no turning back. In the middle of the mountain as you turn around carefully watching your step and look all around you, all you see in land. It's not just any land. There's trees, and bushes, and hills galore. We were up so high that we didn't even see any animals. The other species of the world knew better than to travel that high. There weren't even birds. The air was so thin because of the altitude, and some of us with Asthma had to search further for ammunition to continue to fight up the mountain. The trail wasn't even helping since the shrubbery and rocks had moved closer together and were slowly starting to cover old footprints. But we breathed sweetly once we ALL finally made it to the top. Instead of finding the death we expected, we found life and adventure at Cerro de la Muerte.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"getting by" in Nicaragua

While sitting at a restaurant on the cobblestone street, we were greeted by the children street vendors. Every night they make their rounds to each table at the restaurants in the area selling gum, cigarettes, nuts, and anything else to bring in an income. They were bothersome to many people while others found them entertaining. Regardless of what people thought of them, these children were very persistent in their attempts to complete a sale. They had approached our table at least two times before they began to play with our hair. "Que linda!" was our pelo. We had so much stimulation from these children - we couldn't just focus on one. As soon as someone took a picture, several more children came running for a photo of their own. They rushed and waited for their turn to see their smiling faces on film. We did catch that one was smoking a cigarette, after we told her how she shouldn't, she stuck up for herself by informing us of everyone else who smoked cigarettes as well along with the drugs they did the laundry list was long and disheartening. Then the seemingly innocent eight year old grabbed the cigarette stick from the girls mouth and took a few puffs herself. They were all about ten years under the legal limit to purchase cigarettes in the states and here they are selling them to tourists out to dinner, and this is their job. It is all about getting by. A/R