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

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An Unusual Souvenir

Many volunteers awoke on the GVI Amazon base thinking that today would be a normal day, but Nikki was hoping otherwise. Buried within her back, taunting her by poking their heads out when people looked, were two unwanted lodgers – botflies, parasitic, opportunistic fly larvae, which she had obtained a full four weeks earlier on Hector’s Island. One had died long ago but had yet to be removed, and the other was still causing her sharp, stabbing pains - a very unpleasant experience.

However, hope had arrived in the form of Mauro, the current Ecuadorian graduate spending time at GVI base camp with the volunteers, who everyday had been coming closer to owning the title of ‘Camp Doctor’, with his knowledge of many of the traditional, jungle plant remedies for various ailments one can obtain in these trying conditions. He had told her of a tree, an enchanted tree, that when scored with a knife, yielded a sap that formed something similar to glue when it dried.

The previous afternoon Nikki went to Puerto Rico (the closest community to the GVI base), to obtain said sap. She had applied two layers and allowed them to dry. The moment of truth upon her, Ali stood by, ready with tweezers to pull the little blighters from her body once and for all.

The plaster which covered the sap, to seal off the air supply from the botfly, was ripped off fast. Ali dived in with the tweezers. The head first! Then the body! Out came a disgusting creature and a cheer swept through the camp like wildfire. The ordeal for Nikki was finally over as her tiny botfly was placed in a jar as a trophy of her jungle nemesis – not your average souvenir from this part of the Amazon rainforest!

As a footnote, it should be pointed out that although the botfly can be found in this part of the world, it does not make a regular appearance at GVI base camp!