I can’t believe it has been over three years since I was in Guatemala—it seems like yesterday. And I will never forget the day I climbed my first volcano. To be clear, it’s still the only volcano I’ve climbed, but I hope not my last.
However, the adventure began before we arrived at our destination. We joined a group of people for the volcano experience. I had heard it was best to go with a guide—safer. So that’s what we did. Our group filled two small vans. The drive was over an hour and wouldn’t you know it, one of the vans got a flat tire. I’m going to be honest, when I still had a car I was the type to call for help when I got a flat. And I don’t mean my dad, who would also call someone else for help.
So when the guides got out of the car to take care of the situation I also got out of the
van. Not to help. But to watch. There was one gentleman in the group who wanted to help. Unfortunately for him, the guides said he couldn’t help due to liability issues. This didn’t satisfy the man. He was the helping type, especially during a crisis. We were on a highway and while I didn’t feel I was in danger, I wasn’t the one changing the tire. Not too many cars drove by, but there was still some traffic.
The gentleman was quite concerned about safety. He started to collect litter. An empty cup, a Coke can, and other small objects. I watched, curious about his behavior. Then he walked past the curve and I lost sight of him. When he turned the corner I noticed he was placing the litter in the road like you would set up orange plastic cones to alert drivers about an accident or obstacle in the road. His barrier created a safety bubble for the guides.
He was helping; I had to give him that. And he didn’t have much to work with. When the first car flew by all of his rubbish flew away. Undeterred, he gathered more and placed it in the road once again. The next car demolished all of his hard work. Some of the other hikers noticed him and his efforts. No one said anything, but I could sense they wanted to laugh. After his third attempt the dude gave up. None of the drivers paid any attention to his road blocks made of empty soda cans and cups. He looked defeated. Fortunately the spare tire was on and we were ready to roll.