John Pérez, currently living in Poland, but born on the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) tells us things most people have never heard of: how the inhabitants of Galapagos get their daily food supplies, why some of them decide to emigrate, but often come back to the island and how your personality is formed when you share almost everything with giant turtles.
– The Galapagos Islands consist of three main Islands located about 1000 km from the mainland – explains John. – Because of the fact that we are completely isolated, we must receive food supplies and all necessary products (for example construction materials) daily. All products are delivered to the island in huge containers. It is the only solution to provide residents with everything they need to live.
Is living in such isolation not problematic on the long run? Do people want to emigrate to other countries?
On the one hand, they want to take risks and start a new life somewhere else, but on the other hand, they prefer to stay for a lot of reasons. All residents are very attached to the island. Even if they emigrate, the majority do it just to get a better education and return to the island to serve for it in the best way. We have a very strong sense of responsibility for our land. We feel respect for nature and we react every time we see that someone does not respect the rules prevailing on the island.
The island is full of gigantic turtles, which tourists watch most willingly. Turtles must not be touched. It is even punished with a prison sentence. You cannot touch plants that are endangered. We, the inhabitants of the island, learn all this at school, and then share our knowledge with tourists.
What else do teachers teach you at school, which is strongly related to the island?
We clean the coastlines. Students walk along the beach and collect all the rubbish that comes to us from outside. We often find bottles and other products that have labels. In this way, we recognize the countries from which they came to us.
What is the main source of earnings for people of the Galapagos?
Most of the inhabitants work in tourism. People are the owners of hotels, where they also work, others work in restaurants, as tourist guides or cruise tourists on their boats.
Are there many tourists who visit the island and decide to stay permanently?
Tourists cannot stay permanently on the Galapagos – says John. – Only those who were born there or those who came to the Galapagos before colonization can live on the island. My father is a man who came to the Galapagos before colonization. He told me that there had been only one telephone on the Island then. What is interesting, many Ecuadorian residents still think that the island is in a similar condition as in the past, and that we still have only one telephone there. The truth, however, is that the island has undergone numerous changes. Many houses have been created and we live there as other people live in every normal city.
One thing that we still have a problem with is the hospital and medical services.
What is the easiest way to explore the island?
With a guide. Visiting the island without the presence of a local person may end very badly. It may be dangerous because you can easily get lost, and then finding the way back often turns out to be impossible.
What do you think about Europe?
Stanard life in Europe is much higher and everything is more organized. But the island is calling … It is a bond that will never be broken.
Did you like the interview with John? Now look at the beautiful pictures of the Galapagos that we received from John`s brother – Fabian Sánchez. Thank you Fabian! 🙂