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Published: September 7th 2006
thanks for the comments! So i wrapped up my shivering and my Spanish lessons in Cuenca, and sadly said goodbye to my teacher. Caught a bus to Macas, and once again was just mesmerized by amazing scenery. Lush green, towering mountains, waterfalls, clouds at eye level. the first 6 out of a 9 hour bus ride flew by! Macas was a hole, as was Puyo, so i quickly headed up to Tena, the base for my last volunteer experience, to revel in the heat. From Tena, i took an hour long bus ride and then a 10 minute canoe ride to Amazoonica, an animal sanctuary in the Amazon jungle, run by a swiss lady and her Ecuadorian husband.
As i stepped out of the canoe, a monkey greeted me! whooaaah! Turns out, our volunteer house sits right on the river. We have a "living room", which is basically a house on stilts filled with hammocks. now we're talking. I asked if they had internet. The head volunteer responded, "We don't even have electricity!" Yep folks, that's right! there is a cold shower, but we all prefer the little waterfall that is steps to the house for showering! The
scenery is beautiful and there are so many beautiful animals! Toucans, macaws, ocelots, jaguarundis, coatis, agutis, dogs, a cat, and monkeys all over the place. This place rocks!!!!! At night the volunteers take turns cooking and we sit and chat at the kitchen table by candelight. This is what i was looking for! Stranded up to my neck in jungle and LOVING it. the first night tho, i slipped into what seemed like soggy sheets damp from the humidity, and an old mattress that smells of mold, and i felt like i was sleeping in a petrie dish for growing penicillin. I have adjusted already tho. And again, sinuses that were blocked are again cleared out. But i'm pretty sure i encountered the house rat on the way to a night bathroom stop.
The work is hard. hauling heaving buckets up and down jungle stairs. We feed the animals and do some cleaning of their cages. The end of this week i will have to start leading tours, as that is the major source of income for the place. The minimum time to volunteer is usually 2 months, but they made an exception for me. I am scheduled to
Family #1 Cuenca
Mariana and Rosio, my first family homestay in Cuenca while i was studying. LOVED them to pieces. the mom said to me in spanish, "come back to me, my arms are always open"
be here 2 weeks, but already I want to stay longer. Next week i will spend my birthday here! The first day one of the problem monkeys accosted me by jumping on my arm and swinging from it, trying to crawl up my head. Apparently he tries to intimidate the new volunteers. It worked, i was pretty freaked out. But he has calmed down. The worst thing is wanting to touch the baby monkeys. they are SOO friggin cute, and so human-like with their tiny little hands and faces. one of them is bottle fed! but they do release a quarter of their arrivals back into the forest, so it's important not to handle them too much.
Yesterday we had a going away party for one of the volunteers at a lodge, also owned by the people who run Amazoonica. We ate dinner and sat by candelight under a grass hut right on the river. Took the canoe at night, and the river looked like something out of a movie- all misty and lit up in the moonlight.
So that is the update. I will have limited email contact for a while, and may decide to extend my
my teacher Janet, on our last day, eating the delicious ice cream i got addicted to. LOVED her too!
stay a week or 2, but looking forward to hearing from everyone!
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