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

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hector's Funhouse

No sleeping in today! We had to get up at 4 AM to get our stuff ready and catch the bus to Coca. A bus-trip through the middle of the jungle with a bus driver who got his driving license in a cereal box, it can`t be more exiting than that!

When we arrived in Coca we loaded our belongings in a canoe heading for Hectors Island. From my point of view, Coca is a disgusting town. The whole area is built up around the oil-industry. The most exiting thing to see were the beautiful monkeys we discovered by our hotel. We grabbed the chance to use the internet and eat something other than BEANS!

The canoe trip on the Amazon was absolutely amazing, but Hectors Island was even better. After arriving at the island we put-up our hammocks and settled in. Then we went on a guided tour of the island with Hector in charge. Soon the sky turned black, and sleeping in a jungle hammock proved not to be as easy as it looks.

Set out this morning to plant trees. Hector wants to plant Mahogany trees on his island as an investment for the future. We cleared space in the forest and after two hours had we planted around 100 trees.

Afterwards everyone headed to the river for a swim to cool down before lunch. That afternoon Hector took us on a walk around his island and showed us the main focus of his work. Rehabilitating and releasing trafficked primates. Saki monkeys, Capuchins, Tamarins, Squirrel and Woolly monkeys. All have been successfully rehabilitated and released on the island. Most are now breathing.

That night we were hit by a huge tropical storm and had to leave our water-logged hammocks to take shelter in the school house.

The next morning we helped Hector and his family clear up the storm damage and try to dry out all of our belongings. After lunch we took a walk in the forest and Hector explained the medicinal properties of the local plants. That night after dinner, Hector told us stories about his time living with the Huaorani tribe and about the oil-industry and how he came to own his island.

The next morning we packed-up, said goodbye and headed back to Coca, where we after a tour at the local market, some volunteers tried to eat living Hetle grubs, others stuck to ice-cream.

Hard work, a tropical storm and biting sandflies couldn`t stop us from spending an amazing weekend with Hector on his island, watching monkeys!

James and Rikard - GVI Amazon volunteers, Oct-Nov 2010