Sunday, February 22, 2009
Blood, sweat and beers
So if you haven´t already, I recomend reading Aurora´s last blog entry... It pretty much sums up the nature of our working lives lately. After all of our travels we have parked it for about a month in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. It is an interesting place... Oaxaca its self is one of the more impoverished regions of Mexico. There are many influences of the indigenous people here, the foods, languages and customs are all particular to this part of Mexico. From what I understand there was almost no tourism here untill very recently (2002 ish) when the surf scene blew up here in Pto. Before then it was a small town, excessable by dirt road, only known by the surfers who were in the know. But don´t misunderstand me- this is no Acupuertovillarmazatlacancun... There is a small section of town where most exteranjeros stay, and then there is the rest of the town where the people who work in the hotels and restaurants live. We are working for a young man, Cesar, who is an environmental lawyer, born and raised Oaxacan, who is doing something most Mexicans may never understand. He is trying to preserve the integrity of the people and the area in the midst of all of the changes taking place here. His family owns a peice of land just outside of town where they have planted the fruit orchards that we work in. The land is part jungle, part swamp-jungle, part orchard, part beach. Cesar´s goal is to expand the opperation to be an ecotourist resort type thing... I´m not clear about what that means exactly, but it is clear that he will need more support. Right now Aurora and I are the only volunteers. We literally get paid in frijoles. .. and a place to stay of course. The other morning on the way to work I realized how hard it must be for Cesar to explain and try to help the communty comprehend his mission. We get on the colectivo ( a pick-up truck with a canopy that drives people around town) and a man questions us about what we´re up to. In our best spanish we try to explain volunteering and organic farms. Blank stare. El no entienda. So yeah, we are miles and mountains and oceans from the beaten, trash strewn, pot-holed path of business as usual in Mexico. I am happy to be here to help with the effort, but I am begining to realize first hand that conservation is a priviledge not a right.