Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Volcano: Take Two

Group pic at the top
About a week ago I started off from my community with my youth group on our third adventure. We had planned on spending the night with the other two thirds of the group in a national park near by my site. But we had to adjust our plans as one of the other volunteers involved in the project said her kids could not get permission to travel so far and stay the night. This is not too surprising as her community is the farthest away from the park. I mean I was having some trouble getting permission from my kids' parents and we live close!

So we hmmed and we hawed thinking up other excursion ideas. Eventually we settled upon hiking Volcan Santa Ana, or Volcan Cerro Verde. It is the tallest volcano in the country and located in between Alex and my communities and Natalie's community. My kids were pretty devastated when I told them we would not be going to Monticristo National Park, and were slightly skeptical when I told them about the volcano hike.  But they are good sports and agreed to give it a shot.

We got the the park entrance early, not really knowing what to expect. We got there and paid the first of four entrance fees. Yes four. You have to pay to enter the park, then you must pay for your guide. Next you have to pay to enter onto a portion of private property that must be crossed to get to the top. And then you have to pay again, but by that point I stopped paying attention to why. We were accompanied by a park guide and a police officer leading the way and another set bringing up the rear. Hiking is known to bring out hiding robbers here in El Salvador, so it is best to go with armed escorts.

Kick Ass Youth Group
Not all of the kids from our three groups were in the best of shape, but they all made the 3 hour hike up to the top of the volcano. For that I am immensely proud of them. They could have quit, but they trudged through and made it all the way up. This hike was so much better than the volcano hike I did when I was in training in San Vicente, Volcan Chichontepec. I learned a lot about myself on that hike and I learned a lot about my kids on this hike. 

Awesome crater and sulfur lake at the top
My feet after the hike...

We made it to the top and the view was stellar. We were on the rim of a huge crater. There was a green, sulfur lake in the middle.  Lago De Coatepeque was visible in the distance. We snacked on chicken sandwiches and reveled in the beauty around us. This was meant to be the last big trip for my youth group, but they have really run with this project. I am more than happy to support these kids as long they are willing to participate. 

Alex, Natalie and I
We are already starting to plan a fourth trip, the one we had to cancel. Also we held the first of several movie night fundraisers at my house several nights ago. The kids have decided to raise money to buy trees and re-forest part of our community. We broke even and then some last night. Every little bit counts and my kids are proving that every day! 

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