Natural Resources Management Master's International Student serving in the Peace Corps in Oaxaca, Mexico
I have been in my site for six months and there have been a lot of changes big and small as we head into the end of the year. I am serving in the town of San Juan Bautista Cuicatlan in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. I am working with the Biosphere Reserve Tehuacan-Cuicatlan as an environmental education volunteer, though as a volunteer you really do a little bit of everything.
|Tricia Kent, second from right, on a trip to Parque Nacional Lagunas de Zempoala with ecotourism guides from the biosphere reserve.|
|Tricia Kent (center) works on a composting project with Barrio Zaragoza in her community.|
My graduate research project is still up in the air, though I am honing in on a topic. Climate change is a really important theme for the Mexican government, and there has already been some modeling on temperature and precipitation changes with time. I am interested in collecting more qualitative-type data from the people who live here in the Cañada region of Oaxaca, to complement the quantitative climate data. This region is extremely complex and biodiverse due to its geology and geographical location. Additionally, everyone here agrees that about 10 years ago the climate started changing dramatically from how it was before. I am interested in documenting these changes and their effects on farmers and harvests.
In my free time I have been hanging out with my host family learning how to cook every single delicious thing I possibly can. Oaxaca is the most gastronomically rich and diverse state in all of Mexico and is also the land of mole (savory sauce made with chocolate). My host parents are a sweet indigenous couple who have a seemingly infinite knowledge of salsas, tamales, mole and native greens, and I have been eagerly helping to pat out tortillas, grind coffee and prepare salsa.
|Tortillas Tricia Kent made on the family comal (cooking stone).|
Wishing everyone in Fairbanks a happy end of the semester and a safe holiday season! I will be taking some vacation time to explore other regions of Oaxaca along the coast and the Istmo.