Today, I stood on the edge of an active volcano! It was spewing sulphur gas into the air and we could barely see the lake in the crater for all the volcanic activity. I spent the day dweebing out hardcore and asking Carlos, the volcanologist, tons of questions about ash, rocks, soil, chemical compounds, and vegetation! We left Atenas at 7:00 am to drive an hour and a half on twisty roads to the national park surrounding Volcán Poás. There, we listened to Carlos talk about plate tectonics, Costa Rican volcanoes, and geological wonders. From the presentation, we hiked to the crater overlook and witnessed the constant eruption of sulphur gas creating a giant plume from which we were, thankfully, downwind. Poás underwent two major periods of eruption in the 1960s and 70s, which formed the current crater. We hiked to Laguna Botos, which is a crater lake surrounded by dense vegetation. Botos is the crater that resulted from an eruption around the time Christopher Columbus was 'discovering' Costa Rica. Because I know you are probably not dying to hear this information, I will spare you additional details (like how awesome it is that the chemical compounds in the crater lake change before an eruption and turn the lake bright green! and then red!) Like I said, I was dorking out.
On the bus ride from Poás, I made an important connection in my research project. I am researching women's sexual rights in Costa Rica, and specifically how the macho culture and primarily Catholic religion influence women's access to methods birth control (if they want or choose to use it). I talked with Odilie, one of the directors of the program, about my project, and she asked me to write down my main research questions. She offered to have a local doctor answer the questions for me! Wow! This source will make my project at least eighty thousand times stronger. Now, with this exciting new development in my research, I am going to eat dinner with my wonderful family and will write tomorrow all about our language exchange with local students at the technical school in Atenas. ¡Que te vaya bien!