Each day, we are given a morning and an afternoon activity, with a couple of hours break in the middle of the day. My first day I started with the insect project. There is an entomologist working with projects abroad to make the first Peruvian Amazon Insect Book published. Salvador had been away on holiday for a month and so the lab was a mess. We started by cleaning everything. Then we went out capturing bugs. In the afternoon, Jacob was with me and we went to the second farm area where they have built a platform from which we can observe birds. We saw a vulture, hawks, parrots, macaws, and heard many others, but we really were excited by what we saw on the ground. We saw a non poisonous 3 meter long snake hunting right below our platform. We watched him much more than we watched the sky. When it was time to come down, he was still around. Rich, the group leader wanted to get a closer look, and when he went towards the snake it took off faster than he thought it could. On our return, we had a number of hours before supper and I took
a cold shower ( there is no hot water), here I want a shower almost 3 times a day its so hot. Whenever there is down time, people are always ready to play cards and I can always read. The pace is very relaxed. I felt like I didn't do enough today, two easy jobs compared to what some of the others were doing. We have our jobs posted for the next day shortly before supper and I was pleased to see that I would have harder work to do tomorrow.
I was on the demolition crew for an old animal house until those who had gone to get wood were back. There is a wood and rope and steel cable canopy bridge, high in the trees here which lead to a platform for more observations. The platform is falling apart so we are hiking in wood to repair it. This means that we hoist a 4 meter long hard wood 4 by 2 plank onto our shoulder and walk for over a kilometre over 3 rope bridges and through foot deep mud at times. This was real work. When we got to the canopy bridge, we had to bring the wood up and across the rope bridge, we formed a chain of people so we didn't have to move so much back and forth and up and back. I found that my fear of falling did not make this an easy task, but any time that my hands were free of wood and I wasn't moving, the views were worth all the effort. This is jungle, thick green humid, life filled jungle. It's very cool to see it from the top of the trees. On the way back, we had to carry out more wood that had been brought by mistake. I was shaking and needing lunch desperately by the time we got back. Through lunch a fine thunder storm had settle in and the afternoon activities where to be carried out regardless. This evening was the workers day holiday so we had planned a big bbq and one night were we could drink beer etc. So we had to clean up the grounds and build a shelter for the BBQ because of the rain. We shoved huge cut logs into the river, we reorganized wood, we cleaned and all in the pouring rain. I showered with my clothes afterwards, they were so wet and muddy it was the best way to get a clean set, or mainly clean. Later, Jacob and I walked a trail to an eco tourist lodge where you can get coke, cookies and beer. The rest of the crew came by boat. After some drinks there, and storing up drinks for the party, we all took a boat back to camp. I love these long narrow wooden boats that ferry us along the river bank that is the only road in these parts. The BBQ was fantastic, with lots of camaraderie, good conversation and great chicken. Jacob and I went to bed early, I was exhausted but the party went on till the wee hours of the morning. Some volunteers were not going to be in any condition to work tomorrow.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams
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