Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Nice Day For Ahuac

This past Sunday we finally found the time to hike up to the lagoon above our site, Ahuac/Awak/Aguak. (Pronounced more or less like “a walk” – get it?) We’d been told it’s around a four hour hike to get there, so we made sure to get an early start. Of course, the week prior Menda planted her vivero (tree nursery), which ideally should be watered multiple times a day until the seeds sprout, so first we had to walk down to Jinua. We finally set out for the lagoon a little after seven in the morning with two other volunteers who had stuck around after the regional meeting the day before. It’s about a forty minute hike up to the cross (of which we’ve previously posted pictures) and from there a fairly level walk... for the next 15 or 20 minutes, after which it’s straight uphill for the next three and a half hours. From our house to the lagoon we hiked about seven kilometers total and gained a total of 1300 meters in altitude. It took us just over four and a half hours, including many breaks for water, snacks, and a little much needed recovery for our lungs. We got there, and while our courage was still sufficiently high, Menda and I swam in the snow and ice fed lagoon (my second polar plunge). We then feasted on PB&Js, mandarin oranges, animal crackers, and cookies – chocolate mint by the way. After sitting around for a bit, we headed back down, moving much faster and taking fewer breaks. It’s easier to lose your balance when going downhill, but the increased oxygen intake as you move lower and lower makes you feel invincible – until you fall, that is.

As a side note, the next day is when I usually work in the health post and Menda teaches environmental classes in Jinua. I debated not going, because I was more than a little bit tired the next morning but finally settled on it, because A) I usually just sit at a desk and help with consultations for babies and B) I needed to invite the boss to a conference on HIV/AIDS. I got the invitation to him, but we’re in the middle of a week during which health post staff go door to door seeing if all the children and elderly are up to date on their vaccinations, so I ended up walking up and down hills for over five hours the next day. Yeah. It was good exercise at the very least.

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