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Mark: Agua

May 30, 2011

On Sunday we made a day trip about 3 hours north to what is left of the ancient city of Teotihuacan (I will be posting those photos on Flickr in the next day or two).  At its epoch the city was home to around 250,000 people before it disapeared for thousands of years. Teotihuacan probably suffered an ecological disaster. The city’s year-round water supply came from springs at the base of the volcanic mountian that towers over it, just like Cuernavaca and countless other cities in the region today. During the rainy season, water falls on the mountains and gets caught in the forrests before being absorbed by the porus volanic rock. The people of Teotihuacan cleared imense ammounts of timber to build their roofs, cook their food and heat limestone to create the ornate cement that used to cover the pyramids of the sun and moon and nearly every other surface in the city. The result was that water rushed into the valley of the lakes instead of being absorbed by the rock and the springs could no longer support the rapidly growing metropolis.

I come from a place where clean, drinkable water is always plentiful. In our country everyone has nearly free access to potable water, even if its from the bathroom sink at McDonald’s. Yesterday I saw poverty on a scope and scale you just can not find anywere in the United States. Leaving the Federal District of Mexico City and driving into the State of Mexico I saw thousands on thousands of squatter camps stretching miles up both side of the valley. These families literally build their shelters homes overnight five hundred at a time on any available piece of land in hopes of staking a claim and after ten years being granted the title to their plot. Another student studying here has spent some time doing aid work in Monterrey.  He said one of the questions people ask him a lot is why he feels like he needs to help in other countries when there is so much to do at home.  His says they would understand in a heartbeat if they saw these places themselves.

When Will and I got back to our host mother’s house, we found out that the water was not working, and we were almost through our rooftop resivour. That means plastic dinnerware, rationed tiolet flushing and definately no showers after a day of climbing pyramids in the sun. Our area is in a drought, but the rainy season should be coming in the next weeks (or months) and our water within the next day or two. It did rain again last night. It was cold and quick, but it was the perfect way to freshen up after a long day.  Standing on the roof in our swim trunks.

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