The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Change of Scene

Last week five of our EMs descended upon Yachana Technical College to spend a week with the students. Upon arrival they were escorted to their new dorms and taken on a full tour of the college grounds. Their aim was to discover a bit about the way of life at the college, what a typical day involved and most importantly to interact with the students.

At first it was tough. The 5:30am wake up calls followed by a breakfast ranging from boiled plantains to onions and rice took some effort to adapt to. The students were too shy to approach them and the absence of tea or coffee meant the EMs couldn’t get the caffeine hit they had craved so much.

However, after a morning of working with the students the paths of communication began to open up. Amy discovered that singing pop songs while working in the field resulted in a resounding chorus with the youngsters. Looks like all that cheesy music has a purpose after all! Natalie and Katherine found an outlet for their artistic sides by making bracelets in the craft department. The students can whip one up in 15mins but our girls managed two in three hours. At meal times the language barrier was chiseled away with a single dictionary and a lot of creative mime.

By mid week the EMs were fitting in nicely. In the afternoons they ran English classes through different drama workshops. The classes were highly successful. It was a great opportunity for everyone to have some fun even if they did look like fools rolling around on the floor blindfolded and zapping each other with imaginary lasers. One particular highlight was watching Dan and another student act out a stage combat scene in Spanglish “Vete de mi casa!”

By Friday the week was winding down and the students were busy with preparations for their return home. They did however find the time to throw the EMs into the pool fully clothed! On Saturday morning the week was topped off by the Jura de la Bandera, a swearing of allegiance to the flag ceremony, commemorating a battle for territory with Colombia on 27th February 1829. The EMs were reunited with their full team and had a chance to get acquainted with the new members before returning to their humble abode across the Napo.