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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday morning Minga

Sacrifice was the order of the day this Sunday. Unlike normal Sundays where we get out of bed at 9am, we were awakened to the breakfast bell at 6am! Today was our minga day (minga being the technical Ecuadorian term for when the community comes together to get a big job done), and we were off to el Colegio Técnico Yachana and the Yachana Lodge, located on the other side of the Rio Napo to work with the community and high school kids there.

There was quite a few sleepy faces as we sat down to breakfast after little sleep – the previous night we celebrated the birthday of the much loved Chris Beirne – a key member of staff here on the GVI Amazon expedition and we had a full night of games where we competed in a series of events, such as tug of war, egg tossing and rope-made relay.

We arrived at port at 7am, ready to meet the canoe, with us all keen to get started with some good old fashioned hard work. As we have grown accustomed to during in our time here, the pace of life is a lot slower here and things don’t always happen on time – our canoe arrives just shy of 8am and then we shot straight upstream to get to work.

Next month the Yachana Lodge is scheduled to hold a high profile conference and is attracting some important people. As such, much work is being done to get everything ready and so we went there to give them some help in any way we could. Upon arrival we were sorted into three groups and were led off to start work on three different jobs. The first group was to lay down stone paths and so they had to carry the stones and sand up from the river’s edge in big sacks. The second group were taken to the agricultural area of the colegio, to clear the cacao plantation of fallen logs and rotting tree and any other bushes that were not needed. They used their put their machete training into action and worked hard all morning to make the area look spick and span. The last group had to do a similar job, but the reason for this job was a bit more exotic – recently the colegio has acquired a few African sheep, which look a lot like goats and so an area of land had to be cleared so they could graze and drink and be merry.

The work was hard and hot but it was definitely well worth it, we really felt like we achieved loads that morning. We want to thank them for letting us help, it was a great sense of achievement and after all the hard work we were all treated to a big slap up lunch at the colegio as a thank you for the efforts that we put in.