Monday, June 7, 2010

Jaibalito...the aftermath

There were two pueblos around Lago Atitlan that got hit especially hard: San Antonio and Jaibalito. Jaibalito was small...around 500 people. They had forced evacuations during and after the storm, including one of the days that I was in Santa Cruz.
Only the very center section of town survived. Otherwise, two huge landslides/rivers formed on both the left and right side of the pueblo...leaving once green, lush earth gray, rocky and barren.
The force with which the rivers of rock and mud came down the mountains left no houses standing.
I'm not sure who is going to buy this piece of land right in the center of where one of the landslides occurred, but I guess it's worth a try: Se Vende = For Sale.
Walking up through the main center path from the boat dock, it is shocking to see where the center of town got swept into the lake.
Continuing up the hill, rock and dirt inundate the once grassy growth, including the banana grove below.

The center of town where kids once played basketball was mostly destroyed...and after another landslide on this side of town a week after the storm, a forced evacuation occurred along with impressive aid relief (see blog post tomorrow).
Along with the mud and rocks that slid down the mountains into the lake, so did all the garbage that has been listlessly sitting pretty much everywhere around the lake.

Garbage litters not only the shores, but the waters as well.
Yes, the boat to the left is in water...and that is all garbage and storm remnants just hangin' in the water. One of the various early mornings I was up on the lake I saw the man that cleans up the dock area scoop shovel full after shovel full of garbage into the water. There is the thought that eventually it will sink and then we won't have to worry about it. Meanwhile, lake gets sicker and sicker.

It will take a cultural shift for Guatemalans to understand how to and the importance of keeping the water clean. Without it, they and their ancestors would not exist. Without it, the tourists that come bringing money would not come.

On the flip sides there are places that recycle and compost. Plastic bottles filled with plastic wraps and then sand get used as building materials where concrete would be solely used. Only time will tell.

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