Our time here at Lago Atitlan is coming to an end, on Saturday we are moving on, going to a place called Copan across the boarder in Honduras. We still have a few places to see here in Central America before we fly to California and beyond.
We are both glad we stayed here in Panajachel on the shore of lake Atitlan, the town itself is no oil painting (although there are enough people trying to sell you just that!) but being the main hub for the lake most visitors arrive here by road first before taking one of the numerous ” lanchas” on to their destination in one or other of the towns dotted around the lakes edge. We are glad, not because of undoubted and stunning beauty of the Vista or the vibrancy of the colours everywhere you look, but because of the people we have met. We have been blessed on this trip to have encountered so many warm, generous and interesting folk who have been happy to reveal a bit of their lives to us and allow us peep behind the curtains.
Today we said hasta luago to three of these folks, Edgar, Oseas and Beatrice. We met through our involvement in the production of cutting edge pharmaceuticals (or as some cynics describe, volunteering mornings in the medicinal herb garden). Edgar & Oseas are locals employed by Maya Tradition the NGO that run it, Beatrice, a lovely clever and somewhat ditzy Italian volunteer who came here to learn about natural medicine. Not being a keen gardener, I did a bit of carpentry leaving most of the green planty things to the girls, we all enjoyed the time spent in the garden, but all felt that things could have been done more effectively, this was born out of concern for the sustainability of the place rather than simply the utterances of three know-it-alls. When the lads sprung a huge decorated cream cake and a brew of (herbal) tea to thank us, we were humbled. They had bought what was no doubt an expensive cake for us and showed genuine appreciation for what we had and real sadness that we were leaving. Reminding us all that it is easy to breeze into a place and see the shortcomings and fail to take in all the effort and hard work that has already been put in. Yes, improvements can and need to be made, but my respect for young Edgar and Oseas (who over 14 years has carved out the terraces on this Rocky hill by hand) is absolute. Two top chaps and I wish them both every success in their endeavors.