We began today by returning to the library to continue our community service work there. We finished sorting the donations in the English part of the library and then cleaned up the bookshelves. After that, we went to the Spanish part of the library and dusted all of the books there. It was a very hot day so we were all exhausted once we finished and had some time off before our lecture at 1:30.
The work we did in the library is important because the local kids use it to facilitate their language learning and as a main source for reading material. By organizing and shelving the books, we made the library usable and made it more likely that the children will stop by for books.
I was very interested by the fact they had a section of the library for books in English in addition to the Spanish section. They are being taught both languages simultaneously while they are growing up which makes it much easier for them to learn it. I did not have this opportunity to learn another language as a kid and I wish I would have. I had taken Spanish in high school but it would have been much easier if I learned it as a kid. Meghan has had no Spanish lessons and has a hard time learning new languages. She also wishes she had had the opportunity to learn Spanish when she was young.
In the afternoon we had a lecture from Mark about water quality in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula. We discussed how the aquifers flow through the mainly limestone rock in both directions. Deep well injection of chlorine treated sewage causes contaminated water to get into the water system. Fecal coliforms have developed in many areas and life is being destroyed by higher levels of nutrients, which promotes algae growth and chokes out other life. We also watched Troubled Waters, a movie about the causes and consequences of pollution in the Mississippi River.
These issues tie directly into the reason why we came on this trip. They give a clear example of how our actions are having a huge impact on the environment; sewage draining is a huge problem for large hotels and other tourist areas. We also connected the water issues here in Mexico to those we have back home. This comparison helps us identify with the issues here and take our new knowledge of conservation back home with us.
Although much of the lecture was a review from Monday, it was useful to hear the information again. We felt like we absorbed more the second time around and actually understand the issues he talked about. We both found the video really interesting and thought it enhanced our understanding of conservation issues. Although much of the video was also a review, we thought there were interesting points about different types of fertilizer and farming methods that are environmentally friendly.
Meghan & Ryan