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

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Operation: Recon

It is a well known fact around the GVI camp that beneath the calm, calculated exteriors of some of the team that there are dark histories hiding that don’t need to be shared or even talked about......Until now.

Chris Beirne, Camp Commander, handpicked this elite team for a precise operation. He knew he had recruited four highly trained soldiers to penetrate intangible zones within the Yachana Reserve and sent them to map, mark and record their findings undetected. It was a mission that was sure to suffer loses but this is a small price to pay for the greater good.

Leading the team was Banjo ‘Bad man’ Mansfield, apparently named for unspeakable acts performed in battle in Suffolk for the good of the country, highly trained in biological weaponry and underwater knife fighting. Tom ‘Chopper’ Smith spent most his life undercover in a Guatemalan prison successfully infiltrating an extremist cartel hell bent on destruction and torture, a word of warning, never look this man in the eye it will be the last thing you see. Edwin ‘The Ecuadorian’ is swift stealthy and deadly. Spent two years shadowing Prince Phillip in the Guerka’s as an unofficial bodyguard, so unofficial and discreet that even ‘Princey’ didn’t realise The Ecuadorian was never more than 4ft away at any moment. Finally, Jose, a master of disguise and infiltration. He has been posing on camp as a 16 year old Ecuadorian student, FOOLS! The GVI camp has failed to realise, he is a 29 year old Ecuadorian James Bond, deadly to both enemy and woman.

The team was sent into an area known Riparian with orders to get off trail, find uncharted habitats an exciting prospect.

We disappeared into the surrounding at break of light with a belly full of porridge (it’s a slow release energy source dontcha’ know!) A bag of biscuits, GPS and machetes – to travel fast you need to travel light. We reached the stream which begun at a magnificent 30ft waterfall and we entered, starting our meandering journey of uncertainty through the beautiful scenery and well, what happened next was very unexpected.

As the river got deeper, the wellies breeched.......filling them with cold, murky, infested water and instantly all four disciplined, highly trained men turned into squeamish, shrieking girls! I am also certain that ‘The Ecuadorian’ flapped his wrists while shrieking “Oh my days, there seems to be something swimming in my welly..!!” We continued marking on the GPS ever corner and feature of the stream that we encountered whilst the water levels continued to rise which meant shortly the crotches would get it! It happened.... Combined with some comical outbursts and lady noises taking us all back to our childhoods and that moment of confusion when you wet yourself but this time just missing the nice warm sensation, you all know what I mean! Again we continued in the murky water like the brave ladies we were, dodging submerged trees, debris and other squelching objects with the water still rising. We reached the Napo river with water up to our nipples at which point ‘Chopper’ with a teary eye and sniffle said “I want to go home..!” at which point we decided to head back.

This tale may have ruined all masculine personas for those involved but we will all testify to what an amazing day it was and all look forward to our next mission...

Benny Mansfield - GVI Amazon scholar April-May 2010