Comments from Celestine Wanjalla
When I decided to take this class last semester, I really didn't think much
of it. In fact, Mexico had never been a really big interest to me, though I
was familiar with Acapulco and Cancun for their 'importance' as major
At the beginning of the spring semester I began reading the book, 'Mexican
Lives' and this spurred more interest in me and gave me a general idea about
the people and culture. However, this was just but a whisper of the beauty
and uniqueness of a culture so pure yet modern.
Despite the poverty and difference in landscape, Mexico generally has the
same road system like the US. The bigger towns have highway roads
connecting them and within the towns are feeder roads.
The density of mountains in the country is so wonderfully placed making a
35hr drive seem like a 15hr drive. One concern I had was about
deforestation which is so extensive that it might take double or even triple
the time it took to destroy it - to rebuild it.
I learned so much from this trip and even if I tried there is only so much I
can put down on paper. I learned about the beauty of life in its own right
and how it can be met anywhere as long as one is willing to experience it.
About how two people very similar yet very different, speaking different
languages and having different cultures can have a good time together and
learn from each other. I learned how to get peace or rather be at peace
with myself by allowing my self to be captured by nature.
I had never snorkeled in water before, didn't even get to practice in my
bath tab before I left. But now I can say I did and it felt great despite
the fact that I drank so much water. There is this wonderful feeling when
one swims so close to live shrimp and fish that they can almost feel their
The spirit of adventure was something that rejuvenated my energies and has
put me back at the stand that, 'I can do anything in this life.' The first
step was rolling rocks in search of a snake and knowing at the back of my
mind that it was very possible to find a cobra lying there. My first and
only individual catch in Mexico was a small frog, which we later identified
to be Leptodactylus melanoties.
All the students and teachers were so friendly and the learning atmosphere
The experience with the inspection officers was also exciting. Kind of
brings to mind that jungle beat and rhythm in my ears, like they have in the
movies just before a lion gets its prey! Not that we had anything to worry
about, but it was just the sense of not knowing what to expect and the fact
that Dr. Moore would switch off the music as we approached them, and
everyone would remain silent.
As I sit here and pick out what to tell you and how best, there is just so
much that I cannot put down. You have to be there to see it and know what
the experience is.
A Chinese proverb that Bruce mentioned while at Real de 14 is, ' the
accomplishment of a 1000 mile walk begins with one step!'
I believe that this trip opened my eyes into being a better tourist. When I
climbed the Quemado mountains and looked beyond the world, I felt I had
conquered. Now I realize there are other higher mountains in life (both
physical and symbolic) but it's just the beginning and I am gassed up!
Last updated on 16 April 2001.
Provide comments to Dwight Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to the Biology of Mexican Vertebrates at Emporia State University