|What Goes Up Must Sit Down|
LaVonda was right. Kind of.
|Rosa with Mother Turtle, Night #1|
|(R)evolution: Leatherback Sea Turtle|
|Take Me Through the River|
|Erin, Todd, friend: Grande Riviere|
|Michelle, Mother Turtle: Night #2|
For Day 2, Andy hired a local guide, Kevin, to lead us on an "easy hike." Kevin showed up in flip flops and a nearly-flat knapsack that we later discovered contained a candle to frighten away killer bees (!) and a bush knife. Kevin farms his own food, barters, and works nearly full-time as a volunteer beach and marine wildlife conservancy coordinator. Layna wants to take Kevin home; Mike wants to move in with Kevin; and all of us want to be Kevin. (After graduation, of course.) Kevin's easy hike started off on a road out of the village and past many old and new farming estates. "Flip flops? The road? This hike is too easy," Nick said. Kevin, though, is no slouch. Like Andy, he's informative and affable. We learned a lot about local medicinal plants. We ate raw cocoa beans that he handed us off the tree. He is, however, not so good with semantics because this hike was not easy. We forded a stream barefoot. Valerie mutinied and put her sneakers on. Then, Erin, Nick, Amanda, Rosa, Layna, and Michelle swam in the river! We had great talks with Kevin and soon it was past time to go. Oops. We voted for the quick route back. Remember that rain forest mud from Tobago? We hiked uphill into another rain forest here in Trinidad, then cut through a bush swamp which meant splashing through ankle-deep mud ponds. Hiking boots aren't meant to remain their original color, right? After powering (or plodding) up "Leg Burner" hill, we were back in Andy's hands for a short "walk" around the village that included jumping a ravine and fording another stream (in our shoes). Quite informative and very fun as usual, the walk was just not your average Winchester meander up the flat, paved, dry road and back. The group had by now decided that the GCP program is in fact a wilderness physical fitness boot camp and that I am not to be trusted when uttering words like "easy" and "walk."
That night, we saw another turtle!
|Welcome Smoke Ceremony Tools|
As you'll recall, we returned to Port of Spain this afternoon where we immediately shucked off our still-wet hiking boots and sighed happily into flip flops. Disoriented a bit from the daylong shift in extremes from rural to urban, bush to city, we again felt strange walking near traffic, deet-free, on dry feet. "Why are my feet dry?" We asked, laughing in shared delirium.
We have not had internet access for the last four days, so this post attempts to catch you up, in photos and in commentary, on our many adventures. We are all grateful for this opportunity to travel, learn, and to be SU ambassadors in a part of the world new to us. We are all also grateful for the friendships forming on this trip. We laugh so much that we expect to have abs of steel by our return date. But, perhaps more important than developing abs of steel, we are sharing a unique bonding experience that's teaching us about Trinidad and Tobago and our changing global community. We are also learning about each other--and about our changing selves.
Michelle, Todd, Valerie, LaVonda, Erin, Mike, Rosa, Nick, Sarah, Layna, and Amanda
|Mother, Back to the Sea|