Baños de Agua Santa

In the Shadow of the Volcano

Yesterday morning I was woken up from a feverish sleep by a strong eartquake, shaking the windows and doors of my room. It was accompanied by a deep rumbling. As I found out later on the news, this rumbling had actually been the eruption of a volcano less than 10 kilometers away.

Later I went out on the streets to see how people were reacting. You would find little groups gathering around the radio and listening, but aside from that it was business as usual.

Baños de Agua Santa

As on any sunday the masses were streaming down the streets on their way to church. If it were more than usual praying to god for sparing their town from disaster? Maybe, maybe not. Most likely, everyone who lives in Baños has just gotten used to having a highly active volcano in the neighborhood. In 1999 the entire city even had to be evacuated because of the Tungurahua volcano.

Baños de Agua Santa

On this day, you couldn’t even see too much activity as the volcano was hiding behind a thick mix of ashes, smoke and regular clouds. Only from above and cities further away there was more to see.

Baños de Agua Santa

Sad part of the story is that now many of the people living around the volcano will most likely lose all their crop. Even though later they help to make the soil more nutrient-rich, once the ashes come down (a thick layer of the grey dust had already everywhere on the ground) they will for now destroy everything.

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