Yesterday, we had a great meeting with the Cornerstone Foundation about a health accessibility mapping project to benefit the people of San Ignacio. Students listened attentively to the lecture led by the foundation’s director. They then developed a plan to identify different GIS layers needed to suppport the data requests of the Cornerstone Foundation. the students quickly learned that unlike most US GIS projects there is not much readily available data. Thus, they headed into the field in small groups to interview residents, collect GPS points, document attribute data, and create field notes for later inclusion in GIS. By most accounts it was a hot, but interesting day. What’s most exciting is I think the students came up with a creative analysis of the problems identified by the Cornerstone Foundation. The student maps will be directly shared with the community and the Cornerstone Foundation in the next few weeks.
In the evening, we had some free time. About half the group went on a night hike through the jungle. It was not so good. The animals were not having it, so we didn’t see much. Saw some scorpions, ants, frogs, a toad, an owl, and a bunch of very small spiders. Other students stuck around town and had some dinner and fun.
Today we woke up and headed out to Cahal Pech (a Maya ruin site). Students again created sketch maps and detailed field notes about another important tourism hotspot. Great stuff. I then went rogue and off script like Joe Biden. We took a trip to Rodriguez’ Roadside Chicken Stand (owned by the brother of our driver: Ramone). I sprung for lunch since I poorly communicated the wake up times two days in a row! We had great barbecue chicken, a loveley lime drink, and some fresh tortillas. It hit the spot and brought most spirits back up.
Now the students are out in the field collecting data for the final projects.
Tonight we head to the Village of San Antonio for a traditional Maya dinner. Should be delicious and relaxing.
Tomorrow we head to Mountain Pine Ridge. It’s a challening trip for all of us especially with the heat, but I think overall its going well. More soon from a sun burnt, excited and sore professor.