Traces of life trapped be­neath ash

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Ro­drigo Abd

June 3 was a typ­i­cal Sun­day in the ham­let of San Miguel Los Lotes, with res­i­dents en­gaged in usual week­end ac­tiv­i­ties.

Walk­ing through the ham­let, you can imag­ine boys play­ing soc­cer, moth­ers warm­ing tor­tillas on a grid­dle, grand­par­ents watch­ing tele­vi­sion, youths rid­ing bi­cy­cles on the un­paved streets and chil­dren help­ing their moth­ers hang clothes out to dry be­fore the sea­sonal rain be­gan later in the af­ter­noon.

Forty-nine-year-old Elmer Vazquez was one of those out walk­ing that day, look­ing at his gar­den plots, when he heard the first ex­plo­sion from the Vol­cano of Fire at 1 p.m. At that hour, his wife would be back at the house cook­ing lunch for when he re­turned, and their five chil­dren would be at home too, fin­ish­ing their home­work for Mon­day’s classes.

But all that was to end in a huge wall of hot ash that was de­scend­ing the moun­tain; Vazquez tried to get back home, with­out suc­cess.

The town was quickly buried un­der a wave of hot ash, rocks and de­bris, cre­at­ing a scene of death and des­per­a­tion.

But strangely, some signs of that calm Sun­day morn­ing were frozen in time un­der the ash.

In one house, a skil­let and spat­ula are still posed on a stove, now filled with ash.

The re­mains of a typ­i­cal break­fast in ru­ral Gu­atemala — a bas­ket of tor­tillas, a bowl of beans, mugs of cof­fee — are still laid out on a ta­ble, all cov­ered with dark, gritty vol­canic ash.

A bi­cy­cle, a truck, a fan, beds, chairs, re­frig­er­a­tors, a stove — all buried un­der ash, which in some places drifted 10 feet deep.

In other places, such as in­side some more pro­tected homes, the blan­ket of ash can range from a few inches to a foot or two.

The traces of the in­hab­i­tants — a tooth­brush left out, or hang­ing bas­kets of plants — speak of peo­ple who will never come back.

Pho­tos by Ro­drigo Abd, AP

This Fri­day photo shows a liv­ing room en­gulfed in vol­canic ash spewed by the Vol­can de Fuego, or Vol­cano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Gu­atemala.

This Satur­day photo shows a shoe caked in vol­canic ash spewed by the vol­cano in­side a home in San Miguel Los Lotes, Gu­atemala.

This Mon­day photo shows an ash-coated pan and wooden spoon on a stove­top in­side a home cov­ered in vol­canic ash spewed from the Vol­can de Fuego.

This Fri­day photo shows a spring pony dusted with vol­canic ash spewed on the bal­cony of a home in San Miguel Los Lotes, Gu­atemala.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.