September 8, 2012
Site from above the volcano
From the Highway
Yesterday, September 8th 2012 I was notified at 9:20am Volcan San Cristobal was erupting. The Emergency Action Plan that I have heard about since I was a trainee was activated. I was notified I needed to pack a bag and get out-of-site A.S.A.P. When I first received the message, I froze. Without haven bathed, a full cup of coffee poured and still half asleep, from not haven slept the night before, I throw whatever I saw first in a bag. Scared. Nervous. Excited. I lost my mind for a moment, then had to get it together. I grabbed a handful of underwear, shirts, duct tape, headlamp, computer, kindle, passport and my toiletries. I was out of my house in 5 minutes flat.
I hopped in taxi which took me to the entrance to my town, where I encountered a chicken bus headed to the city of Chinandega. I had to get closer to the volcano in order to get out, which scared me silly. As we approached the volcano, a mere 5km from the activity, ash began to come in the windows of the bus. The highway had at least an inch of dust and visibility was difficult for about 5 minutes. The view of the volcano was remarkable. Over one thousand meters of gas thrown in the air, it reminded me of a science project only a million times larger.
I made it to Chinandega by 11:00am and joined the other volunteers from the department. Next we made our way to the city of Leon where Peace Corps drove us the rest of the way to a safe location.
Yesterday, there were 13 tremors across Nicaragua and Costa Rica. We are on standby until Monday when they can determine if it is safe to head back to our communities.