On day two we got up early for breakfast and then got ready for our turtle and salt farm tour. We had to be on a boat for twenty minutes until we got to Ponce del Nance (which is a “santuario de la tortuga marina”) to see turtles that are local and turtles that migrated from Mexico. Just across the river we could see the salt farm which was closed due to rain.
Later in the day we made empanadas with a very respectable woman named Aura. The cooking class was a total success and the food was delicious. We had a great conversation with Aura’s husband about his experience during the “Guerra,” the war in the 80s. To finish off the day we had made bracelets with local women at La Choza Chula, which was hilarious and difficult. While the day was long and hard it was very uplifting.
I was personally impacted by the turtle tour. The man who drove out boat, Cubo, mentioned that people in Guatemala eat raw turtle eggs. Which sounds kind of odd, but is a delicacy. This particularly impacted me because my dad, who is from Mexico, has always told me that eating turtle eggs was amazing but illegal. Luckily the turtle eggs are bwing preserved. The organization CONAP works with a university to preserve 75% of the turtle population while keeping the other 25% for the locals. It is great that the conservationists are not taking 100% of the turtle eggs.
Why does the media try so hard to make countries seem negative? For example, Aura mentioned “sicarios” which is a term I understand. Even though “sicarios” are very dangerous, there is danger everywhere. Oakland always gets targeted as the “dangerous” city, but with all of this gentrification we want to be called dangerous in the next few years. What I will take home from this is that I will forever take this trip to heart and cherish it to the fullest taking in all knowledge and sharing out what I learned. More specifically, I will share the story about the turtle eggs with my dad with the hope that he will be less afraid when I travel again. I hope he can make a connection between his home, Mexico and Guatemala, a country he thought was extremely dangerous for me.
By Litzy Salgado-Barajas