We left Intag this week. Before the crack of dawn on Thursday, Dave, Patricia, her brother, another volunteer and I threw down some breakfast, packed up our giant backpacks and crossed the bridge that connects Rosa Maria’s house to the main road, all before the sun came up. Which means we crossed this bridge in the dark. It was a nice little goodbye send-off.

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Waiting on the other side for Dave — still catching my breath and shaking off some residual jitters — I asked Patricia if she thought this bridge was dangerous. “No, not really,” she told me. Though, she added, this one time two 16-year-old girls attempted to cross it when the river was at its highest point during the rainy season and they fell off and were swept away. Shaking her head she added, their corpses were recovered farther down the river. Ah. Lovely.

As Dave shuffled across the last few feet I watched his headlamp bob and made sure he crossed to the other side safely. With the water rushing underfoot, coupled with the occasional slippery piece of branch that you walk across, what you have to keep in mind is: if a 70-ish-year-old woman can cross the bridge on a weekly basis — and survive to feed her chickens every morning — then us volunteers should be fairly safe. And according to Ned, Rosa Maria is lobbying the town government to put in a safer bridge.

But here’s a part of of the same river that’s not so scary.

March 27, 2014