Last week I was lucky enough to go on a number of trips as part of the WAU Erasmus project. Not only did I have an amazing time, I was also inspired by the sheer hard work of everyone involved in putting the project together! María Luisa created a fantastic programme of events that began with a hike around the Tabernas desert. Led by a geology professor from the university of Almeria, the trip was geared towards helping students and staff alike understand the implications of the over-exploitation of water in the province. More detail was given when we stopped to look at an aquifer – one whose output has significantly decreased over the last twenty years. ‘Why do you think this has happened?’, asked the professor. I raised my hand and took an educated guess. ‘Climate change, maybe?’ He shook his head and proceeded to explain how a number of olive groves had a monolopy on much of the water produced in the area. The “sea of plastic” I saw on the way back to school only attested to severity of the problem he was speaking about.
The next day we visited the Alhambra, which was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in Spain! The Nasrid Palaces are absolutely stunning, and I was really excited to walk the same rooms as Washington Irvine – an author whose book, Tales of the Alhambra, was written during his residence there. The Albaicín, also known as ‘the Old Town’, was equally beautiful, with narrow streets and quaint houses giving the whole place a feel of charm and antiquity.
Little did I know at the time, but our visit to the Alacazaba the following day would have its climax in a theatre piece staged by a number of students and staff! I was cast as the king’s counselor, whose role was to inform the king that his daughter – the princess – had fallen in love with a slave. Although my acting skills are absolutely awful, I really enjoyed the experience, and I learned the fascinating history of the Alcazaba and its early Moorish rulers.
Finally, on the Thursday, we were given a fascinating lecture on scientific techniques for detecting water pollutants at the university. Given the fantastic work that those guys are doing to help preserve the water we use everyday, I sincerely hope that they receive the adequate support to reach their final goal. This was followed by Camel reading which was so, so fun! I loved every minute of it, and all of my friends were so jealous when I showed them pictures!
As some of you may know, however, I am kind of obsessed with food, and so it’s no real surprise that my favourite part of the week was going for dinner with the teachers every night! They were great company, and it was really interesting to talk to people from various different cultures. I believe, after all, that this is the purpose of these kinds of projects: to bring people from different cultures together, and direct them towards a common good. In our case, it was the conservation of water. Who knows what will be next.
Thanks to everyone! You really made it a special week.