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, February 9, 2010

The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Hector

This past weekend, Hector Vargas hosted all of the GVI Amazon volunteers on his island in the Napo River, where he lives with his wife and 4 week old baby. The island is also home to nearly 60 rescued monkeys who roam free and safely on the island. GVI volunteers did many fun and interesting things such as look for monkeys, lounge in hammocks and help complete a thatch roof for Hector's newly renovated dock. But perhaps the most memorable par of the trip was getting to know Hector himself.

Hector is an Ecuadorian who speaks eight languages and is extremely knowledgeable about the different indigenous groups in the Amazon region. He is from the Quichua culture and has spent a considerable amount of time with the Huaorani (a legendary group of indigenous people known for the fierce defense of their land against the oil companies and other outsiders).

Friday afternoon Hector taught the volunteers how to use the infamous blow pipes and traditional spears - the weapons and hunting tools used by the indigenous groups of the Amazon region. First he showed everyone how to hold the blow pipe, which is a good two metres in length. The target was an orange on top of a piece of wood. Everyone gave it a go - three times in fact - only one was successful - sharp shooter Rachel. Every volunteer now owes Rachel a drink for her success.

Next up was wielding a spear and throwing it at the same target. The spear stood well over our heads, but was surprisingly light. No one managed to take down th
e orange in the initial competition. However, after a few hours of practice put in by the boys, I think a few of them were successful.

Valerie Mills - GVI Amazon volunteer Jan-March 2010



Linda DuFresne said...

Hi Stef,
What an adventure! We miss you mucho! Love, Mom, Penny, Moca, Mimi