What makes you thirsty? If I describe a cold glass of ice water with condensation rolling down the sides, does it make you reach for your cup? If I describe my husband’s sweet tea that we drink freshly steeped as the ice is still melting from the heat, does it make you want to drive through McDonald’s and grab a large tea, light ice? What if I tell you to imagine yourself in the middle of summer walking across a blacktop playground 12 miles wide, sun beating down on your shoulders, empty water bottle in hand? Does you find yourself swallowing and realizing you could use a drink?
There is not much I dislike more than that feeling of being thirsty when there is not a drink handy. Just recently, I was getting setting up my computer for a training at a school and I realized that I had forgotten my water bottle at home. I drink a lot of water when I’m presenting! It made me nervous and it made me realize, very suddenly, that I was already thirsty and I hadn’t even started talking yet. I needed to find a bottle of water!
The Galápagos Islands are the most incredible place I’ve ever been, and likely one of the most incredible places I’ll ever go. They are just so special, I can’t imagine how anything could compare. They’re incredible but they’re also harsh. Volcanic islands, the areas that have been settled are lush and green and full of life but the unsettled areas are often rocky, dry, and uninhabitable.
When I returned from my trip, I knew I wanted to share the islands with my students but I wasn’t sure exactly what the anchor of my unit would be. Then I read the story of Dr. Frank J. Sulloway. Dr. Sulloway, a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, is an expert on the life of Charles Darwin and has visited the Galapagos many times to follow in his footsteps. On one visit, Dr. Sulloway and his colleague became trapped on a lava flow on Santiago Island and what began as a 2.5 hour walk to see the tortoises in the wild turned into a 51 hour ordeal that almost cost them their lives.
Inspired by Dr. Sulloway’s time on the lava flow, 48 horas follows college student Sonia Campos to the Galapagos for an interim class called Biology, Darwin, and the Galapagos. Sonia and her friends are immediately struck by the great beauty that surrounds them but are warned that the islands are very inhospitable to those who travel off the beaten path because there are few sources of fresh water. The class, following in Darwin’s footsteps, leaves the beaten path to explore tortoise habitats on the uninhabited island of Santiago.
Without thinking, Sonia reaches up to wipe her eyes, and sap from one of the trees they’ve been cutting away as they head down the overgrown path causes her to have a painful allergic reaction. It may seem like an easy problem to fix… rinse her eyes… but the other students in class don’t have any water left in their bottles as they’re heading back to the boat. Only Sonia has enough water left to give her eyes a preliminary flush. Their Galápagos guide takes a minute to remind them how important it is to have more than the water you think you need because you just can’t be careful enough when there isn’t fresh water available to you!
This one moment of wiping her eyes becomes a series of poor choices that leave Sonia and two of her friends fighting for their lives on the lava flow. It’s a story that I hope leaves you on the edge of your seat, and chugging water, from start to finish!
One of the things I’m most excited about is that I will be donating 10% of the proceeds from 48 horas to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island. The research station is leading the fight to save the different species of tortoise that remain in the islands and to repopulate islands where the land iguanas and tortoise species are in danger. Thank you for both your continued support of my work and for taking this opportunity to support a great cause! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the reader!
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