Who: Paul Ravensburger
Where: El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Campeche, Mexico
“For the Bachelor’s in International Land and Water Management an internship abroad is compulsory. I went to Mexico, where I made compost with different ingredients. Then I conducted a plant experiment using these different kinds of compost in various dosages. I also taught compost-making in a number of schools. During my stay there I noticed how primitive research is in Mexico. Here you would have a machine to monitor the temperature of the compost continuously, but there you just had to do it with a thermometer.
I also frequently had to go to a lab shop myself to get apparatus. Once something went wrong with the bill and I had to wait for eight hours. Everything went more slowly there than in the Netherlands, really. Another funny thing was how often I was faced with football. That sport is extremely popular in Mexico. Holland beat Mexico during the World Cup. Mexicans often said to me, “No era penal!”. Which meant it was an unfair penalty. When Mexico won the practice match against the Dutch, I heard that a lot.
During the first month I travelled around Mexico a lot. I went to Merida to see the Maya temples at Uxmal. I left the house at six thirty to be there first. I went straight to the top of the highest temple while there was nobody else there. The view over the forest was beautiful and it was really fun to be completely alone there in a city that was once so big I experienced festivities in Mexico too.
I played in an orchestra there and a couple of the members invited me to celebrate Dia de los muertos with them. That felt very special, since it is really a family celebration. I went with them to their house in the country and I had a really lovely day. I finished off my time in Mexico with a relaxing time at the beach. Secretly, Mexico counts as part of the Caribbean as well.’