Masaya Volcano: Day 11

Today was spent with Mel, Julian and Sam collecting sulphation plates from areas where Mel had place them one to three weeks ago.

ERA work has been completed on the trip.

iPhone work has been completed on the trip.

Today’s entry will contain no photos as whilst on route through some of the poorest parts I have seen to date it was not appropriate to take photos or video.

The sulphation plates start out a very dark grey and are placed in various locations within the volcano’s gas plume, usually up on trees. The lighter the colour when collected signifies greater levels of pollution affecting the environment and inhabitants.

Mel has a good relationship with a number of people who permit her to place the plates on trees new to where they live and in some cases she brings some essential items to help some of the poorest families. Today we clubbed together and bought rice, beans, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens, paper, cooking oil and footballs all gratefully received.

To see how people live first hand is upsetting when thinking how we live in the UK and other better off nations. One family had 6 children, mother, father and grandparents all living in a single shack with mud for a floor. Many shacks are made of various pieces of corrugated steel or odd lengths of wood and in one case cardboard!

As we drove from one location to another along dirt tracks passing people sitting outside their shacks our eyes met across the void of those that have and those that do not. My eyes showing me a world of struggle and hunger theirs most probably showing them wealthy people on a day trip only to return to opulence!

We met an elderly couple in a tiny shack that are caretakers of the land where they live. Land owned by the wealthy who allow them to live in the shabby shack for free with no wages but allowed to use a small section of land to grow some basic food for themselves.

The difference in wealth and poverty is extraordinary with run down shacks next to a wealthy landowners villa followed by more shacks.

I would encourage you to think about your next holiday and consider becoming a volunteer for EarthWatch and spend your holiday here. Doris from Luxembourg is here doing just that. I would guarantee upon your return home you would reflect on your experience and maybe become a regular contributor to a charity that helps people in countries such as this.