The Human Dimension & Why It Matters
The expanding tourism industry has impacted the Galapagos’ local population by contributing to economic change and social issues.
Not at Home | 2012

Iris Diensthuber grew up in the Galapagos Islands until she was 13 years old, when she moved to the United States for a better education. Now married with three children, she has decided to bring the family back to the Galapagos Islands.

"I wanted them to have more of me, and we are accomplishing that… big time," explains Iris.

Making the move to the Galapagos has not been easy for Iris or her kids. In March 2012, Iris was preparing to open a restaurant that she had been dreaming about for the last 20 years. The restaurant, "A Comer", will serve international food from the United States, which is hard to find in the Galapagos Islands. Iris's husband, Mozart, stayed back in New York to provide money for the restaurant. A year has passed since Iris and the kids left.

"I kind of forgot what it was like to have two people raising the children,” Iris said.

Iris's daughter Mia, 8, and twin sons, Maxximus and Osiris, 11, have had a hard time adjusting. All three of them were happy and felt socially and academically connected to their schools in New York. In the Galapagos, all three of them have struggled making new friends.

"If they haven't known you since second grade, you can't play with anybody," Mia said.

Iris remains optimistic, keeping in mind the advantages of Galapagos life.

"Kid has a dog, some chickens, and three cats. We couldn't do that in New York,” Iris said.

Regardless of how complicated life gets without her husband, Iris is determined to make life on San Cristobal work.

"This was not the wrong choice. Is it perfect? Is it the right choice? I'm not quite certain, but it wasn't wrong,” Iris said.

"I think this is madness sometimes."
-Iris Diensthuber