I will be monitoring Nicaragua and Guatemala from now on, but my first post is focused on Nicaragua because I just spent ten days there. I stayed at a farm called Rancho Ebenezer with a work brigade that went in and helped the farm and surrounding communities by painting houses, installing electric wires, teaching the women how to sew clothing, and caring for the worker’s children. It was an incredible experience!
On the flight in to Managua, I took this photo of a volcano smoking beneath us:
I don’t know for sure, but considering how close we were to Managua, my guess is that this volcano is Masaya.
While I was there, we walked to a school near where we were living and on the walk back, I saw this:
I got really excited thinking that the two light layers may have been volcanically related, perhaps a pumice or ash deposit, partially because of the way it looked, but also the way it crumbled when I touched it. I asked my professor, Dr. Klemetti, and he agrees that it is probably ash. To give you a frame of reference, the thicker layer of ash was probably about six inches thick.
During my stay, I talked with a couple of people about their experiences living near volcanoes. The first man I spoke to was Dr. Irvin, who is an American missionary who has been in Nicaragua for nearly five years. When I asked him what it was like leaving a volcanically dead zone in the U.S. to a fairly active area in Nicaragua, he laughed a little and said he doesn’t mind at all. He told me that he sleeps through the tremors at his house in Managua, and he tends not to worry about eruptions when he is working in the mountains. Dr. Irvin left me with the following statement: “Everyone has to die at some point, why worry?” and then mentioned how “cool” it would be to die in a volcanic eruption. That certainly wasn’t the response I expected.
The second person I spoke with was our translator, Faran. He has lived in Nicaragua his entire life and he said that he (and everyone he knows) doesn’t even notice the little eruptions that occur on a regular basis. Basically, the answer I got from him was that they are so used to it that it is not a big deal like it would be for a small town Ohioan like me.
Starting next week, I will be giving regular updates on the volcanic activity in my region, but I wanted to share my personal experiences first!
March 7, 2011