By Sarah Ludwig and Nate Secrest
It's been a very busy trip so far! We are a bit behind on blog posts so a quick summary of our second day is below, again we are hoping to post pictures asap, sorry for the technical difficulties.
We began the second day with a tour of a nearby permaculture farm. The guide, Daniel, explained the guiding principles of permaculture and took us on a tour of the farm. We were amazed by the biodiversity of plants and birds on this small piece of land, including a line of angry red ants across the path that we were all careful not to step on.
We returned to the Plataforma Global to make delicious pupusas for lunch! We partnered with youth from El Bario to learn how to make the yummy fried delicacies.
After lunch, we ventured to the Women's Cooperative for games and exercises also about environmental sustainability with the youth from El Bario. We learned and laughed a lot, getting to know each other better and also learning about our own environmental footprint.
Our final group activity in this very full day was a hike to a local waterfall called El Cubo. After leaving Suchitoto, we walked down a steep switch backed trail. At first many parts had garbage laying to the side of this narrow single track trail. The lush green hills opposite us had evidence of farming communities in the distance. Many acres (here land is generally measured in "manzanas") filled the hills with milpa or corn.
As we descended into the trees we were stunned by a huge caterpillar city clustered together on the the multiple trunks of this tree. Perhaps the largest, fattest, most crazy looking caterpillars I have ever seen! We gawked at this majestic clump for a solid minute. As we left this congregation we stumbled upon a few outsider caterpillars on the ground and other trees along the trail.
When we reached the river, the balancing game began. We jumped from rock to rock trying not to slip into the water. To add to this challenge, we also had to dodge soaking wet shirts and shoes caught between the rocks. It was sad to see all the left behind garbage either left by others or washed downstream from other towns and communities. Nate remembers thinking to himself " this place is so beautiful but my eyes keep being drawn towards the eye sores."
Our eyes were drawn away from the garbage when Nate almost stepped on a huge turtle! It blended in so well with the rocks I thought it was a rock. We watched as the neck of this multi decade old turtle elongated to show us the head and eyes of this wise creature.
Not to be outdone by this totally cool turtle, El Cubo's waterfall was just around the corner. We left one amazing find only to have that experience be topped by the magic of El Cubo. As we entered into it's mystic waters we were gifted with bats flying 2 feet overhead. We could go on and on about the sights and sounds but I'll let the pictures do the talking.
To show our appreciation for this wonderful waterfall, we worked together as a team to clean up some of the trash in the pools and along the river heading back. If you ever get the pleasure of visiting, we hope you will do the same!