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, May 27, 2011

The Unscheduled Night Walk

After partying our way through a non-alcoholic voting weekend for the mid-phase break in Tena, four willing volunteers headed back with the ´newbs.´ The three musketeers (Lexi, Ian and Liam) and one Mickey ¨Blue-eyes¨ Sanduche jumped on the bus with a dream in their minds; a quiet camp without Oliver's horrible music and laugh. They were not disappointed; the camp was theirs to rule.

On the second day of piece the base manager, Andy; declared with a powerful northern accent that we could go on a walk that night if we so wanted to.

The musketeers and Sanduche discussed the possible outcomes of locations. Two locations caught the eye of the group; Laguna and a stream walk to a notorious frog spot. After several rounds of heads and tails it was decided that Laguna was the outright winner. As the group was preparing a delicious and substantial meal for everyone they were imagining what they might encounter on their nice and peaceful night walk to Laguna, in popped Jo! Jo was asked what she would like to do as all the musketeers (and to a lesser extent Sanduche) were all perfect gentlemen. Jo's response was not what the group was wanting to hear. Jo is a wicked, and cruel member of staff that does not like volunteers one bit. Jo declared that a stream walk was what the group would be doing NO QUESTIONS ASKED!! After a little drying of wet eyes and some serious ego massaging, the three chaps decided enough was enough and to make it the best damn stream walk EVER!

The chaps and Jo set off with only a small amount of hostility between leader and followers. The walk there was extremely quiet as the group felt that any small talk might be seen as an attempt to start a mutiny against their leader. As the stream was entered the willies became ‘breached’ with some rather chilly water. As the water got colder and higher the guys were terrified of what was going to happen to ‘little’ Ian, Lexi, Liam and Sanduche when fully immersed. When the moment came and the water was just starting to cover the area in concern all the guys turned to their leader for some morale support, let’s just says cackling and pointing ensued. The guys had to help each other through the situation with some real teamwork and patting of backs.

After a solid 20m stint through the choppy and icy waters, Lexi's eagle eyes spotted a toe pad of a rare glass frog no more than 25m away. Just below Lexi could make his way towards the great spot Jo started to barge past so that she could claim the glory, seeing this and seeing Lexi face begin to ripple with sadness the team took one short look at each other and detained Jo. Lexi strode forward with more purpose in his stride than Barack Obama to pluck the tiny frog from leaf. Wooping and hooorahs followed the glorious moment knowing that part of the reserve history was being paved.

Jo seemed to be intimidated by the group’s ability to act together, realizing this she allowed the group to bond with their leader and this seemed to pay off for Jo. The group invited her to join their game of Xtreme Lying Down in a part of the stream where standing was not an option. A great bit of teamwork gave Ian the chance for a medal winning lying down pose.

The group returned to base camp with spirits high and no hostility at all. The walk was a success and the entire team had bonded well. A new species of frog and a quiet camp to sink a nice brew was just what the doctor ordered.

P.S. Everything that has been written about Jo should be ignored. Jo is actually a nice person and my sincere apologies go out to her. SORRY JO!!!

Ian Mallard, GVI Amazon volunteer, April-June 2011