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, May 3, 2010

When the vols are away, the staff will play...

I am currently writing this blog whilst sitting in the staff cabin, overlooking a very quiet, very calm GVI Amazon base camp. Not a volunteer in sight. Why? Everyone – bar a few of us leftover staff – has gone on a field trip; a jungle holiday of sorts; to Hectors Island. (In a nutshell, Hector is the Amazonian version of the Crocodile Dundee. He can talk to monkeys, track down jaguars with a single sniff of leaf litter, wrestle anacondas, kill a man with one puff of his trusty blowpipe, and make you a lovely handbag out of palm leaves. Basically one day he decided to buy an island and create a primate sanctuary there, where he lives with his wife, child and dog, Apaika.Very cool lifestyle.)

Anyway, whilst all the vols are off chasing tamarins and learning to climb trees, what do the remaining staff get up to whilst they’re gone? Well, aside from our ‘Official To-Do List’, which includes: veg mapping, schedule writing, science reports, cleaning the water tanks, building an oven, blogs (check), and marking BTEC essays, we’ve made up our own ‘Rather-More-Unofficial-And-Pointless-But-Still-Good-Fun-To-Do-List’. This includes: eat as much as humanely possible during and between all meal times (N.B. does not include lentils) build a zipline, have a darts championship, run naked around camp (one of Tom's many jungle fantasies) form a GVI band, catch the elusive 5ft caiman on a stream walk, make jungle pizza, have a lie in (we’ve managed til 6.30 so far...) and watch a film – you wouldn’t believe how novel that is after months and months of, well, Scrabble and flicking tea towels for entertainment. Oh, and of course, document all of these antics with ridiculous photos...

Three days in, and most of the Unofficial List has been accomplished. Jungle pizza is very good, and we have concluded we will never make it big with our guitar/accordion/horn/water filter band. Good times. No sign of the caiman yet though. Don't get me wrong, I miss not having volunteers about – I’m in a cabin of five blokes, and the main topic of conversation and favourite pastime has been flatulence. Good God.

Anyways, enough procrastinating, I must get back to The List – streaking next! Adios!

Laura Jones, GVI Amazon Intern January-June 2010