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Published: September 20th 2011
We arrived at the station after a 5hour bus ride and a taxi ride in the bed of a truck with the luggage. We met some of the volunteers as they came back from their day in town and at work. We made plans with the rest of the group for the weekend to see some areas around the station. On Saturday we had a surprise visit from some local students around 14 and 15 years of age. The teacher requested that some of us volunteer to practice English with the students. They were very enthusiastic once they broke through their shyness. It was amazing to see their eagerness to learn and they were very glad to have us there to help them. Then they tested us in our Spanish...ahh!
Afterward we joined them at the river and some of us played football with them and we all went for a swim. On Sunday we went to an animal reservation that rehabilitates wild animals to release into the wild and also houses animals that are too domesticated from people trying to keep wild animals as pets. There were some awful stories about how the Macaws are transported from the Amazon in tubes and on average only 2 of 50 survive. There were 2 at the station whose wings had been broken so they could not fly. There were some Ocelots that had been kept as pets and been declawed and their teeth filed down. I could almost not believe the awful things that are done to have exotic pets..incredibly selfish and sickening. On a lighter note, we had a Trumpet bird following us around the whole time and the guide commented that he must like us.
That night the power was out after a massive storm that was right over us. The thunder was so loud I could not sleep and the lightening was right along with it. Luckily the power line that got knocked over was repaired within a day.
The rest of the week we collected seeds of a rare tree which leaves taste of cinnamon and prepared an area for 50 chickens that arrived for the station. 3 new volunteers arrived at the station that day. A guy from Germany, a woman who is in her late 60s´and has travelled the world her entire life, from New Caledonia, and a professor in ecology from Seattle to do some research and look for a place to send some students of his. Tuesday-We did some maintenance and clearing of brush of the cacao fields and collected the ripe fruits. We have taken all the seeds and are drying them now and will be making chocolate in a couple of weeks. In the afternoon we worked in an organic garden for an elementary school down the street that would provide food for them and teach them important and sustainable agricultural techniques. The tropical soils here are very acidic and lack an organic layer so monoculture and modern agriculture have caused much deforestation as it takes a long time to restore the soils to a productive state.
Wednesday- We went to the stations organic garden to repair some fenced and put compost on the yucca trees. Afterward we went to another animal reservation and museum where we learned about the local culture and medicinal plants that can be found in the area. There were a few monkeys that were loose in this area as well which made for a unique experience to be able to interact with them even though they got a little rambunctious.
Thursday-I had been speaking with the professor about the reservation and possible projects. There have been some monkeys in the area that the manger of the station and I almost saw get run over on the road when it was crossing one day. I mentioned this to the prof and he suggested a corridor crossing above the power lines and mentioned a place in Costa Rica that has this already in action. I mentioned it to the manager and mow I will be working with him and a couple of others to get it successfully installed in the trees. This will provide a safe crossing for the monkeys and we will post signs as well to slow down in the reserve area.
The diversity in this area is unlike anywhere else in the world. Every day I have seen a different insect for example. This has been the most amazing experience of my life even with the tarantulas, 95% humidity and cold showers.
I hope to get photos posted very soon-hopefully this weekend. The internet is a hitchike away or an hour bus ride. It is a nice break from technology but I will be sure to keep everyone updated 😊
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