I managed to finagle my way onto the walk up the Volcano de Agua. We set out at 4:00am to catch the buses from Antigua to the town of Santa Maria where the hike began – at 5:30 we started the hike up the volcano.
The altitude, terrain and number of participants made for a hike that was fairly strenuous. As I was walking I found it interesting and encouraging that the majority of the participants were men since this was an event to bring about awareness to and reduce domestic violence.
After about 4 hours I made it to the top where people were waiting for the announcement to create the human chain. There were plenty of reporters and helicopters with film crews to document the event. Spread out across the crater was a gigantic piece of nylon with a huge heart printed in the middle of it. Everyone gathered around, picked up the canvas and began to wave it up and down.
Further down the volcano thousands of people lined up to pass a flag up the mountain to the crater. The trip down with thousands of people trying to negotiate a mostly one lane path, in addition to the dust they created made for a very long and uncomfortable descent. Once we were back in Santa Maria the number of people that took part in this event overwhelmed the busses that were designated to take them back to Antigua. I understand that some people waited about 3 hours for a bus.
On a whole I commend the organizers – while there were many things that could have been done much better, the idea and the amount of work and organization to pull off something like this was still impressive. This event was organized by Ensena Amor: No Violencia (Teaches Love)