Several weeks ago all the students saw the Laguna de Apoyo, a 3-mile diameter lake in the hole left by a volcano that blew its top off in a violent explosion more than a million years ago. Aaron is working at a small biological field station at the edge of the lake that hosts students and researchers from a variety of countries. Doug sat with Aaron and the station’s director, Dr. Jeffrey McCrary, as they had a late lunch at 2:30 after returning from delivering a load of recyclable material from the local community to a recycling center in the nearest city, Masaya. The recycling initiative is one of several environmental projects that the field station does in conjunction with a local school.
Aaron is also helping with a pilot “patio garden” project to use empty soft drink bottles as planters for green peppers and other vegetables. Depending on how that works, the school kids will be brought to see the planters with vegetables at the station and assisted in making their own. A tree nursery is an ongoing project that provides seedlings being used to reforest a local municipal lot. While the school children last year planted 1,000 seedlings, Aaron is planting a new crop of seedlings from seeds using discarded empty milk bags. [In Nicaragua milk in the supermarket is sold in plastic bags.] Eventually Aaron, a graphic design major, will work with a school group in painting a mural on the exterior wall of the biological station. Part of the wall was already covered with a mural by previous GC students who worked here. The school kids will participate in deciding what the new mural will look like and then painting it.
At the end of the work day Aaron walks about two kilometers along a road that follows the edge of the crater lake until he gets to his home. He lives in a two-room hut overlooking the lake, where some mornings he goes for a quick dip before going to work. A short distance away he has supper each evening with Alejandro and Berfalia, his host parents, and their 7-year-old daughter Crisbel. She likes to play Uno with Aaron and has learned from him how to count to ten in English.