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, September 20, 2011

‘Ding-dong it’s the Avon Lady!’

I’ve been working here at GVI Amazon Base for quite some time now and I love the fact that little things about the area we live in always creep up to surprise me.

My latest amusement was when our local Avon Lady rang our jungle doorbell (or when she just sauntered into camp one sweaty afternoon). Yes folks, Avon, the multinational door-to-door (or canoe port- to-canoe port) sales service where you can buy anything from lipstick to a blow-up couch has hit the Amazon Rainforest.

Not only does she exist here, but she also happens to be a good friend of ours and the mother of one of the Yachana Reserve’s ex rangers. So when she came into camp carrying a bag full of lotions and potions (maybe not quite a blow-up couch) the girls in camp greeted her excitedly with a ticker-tape parade of grubby fingernails and sweat bee-infested locks. Girls everywhere started sifting and smelling their way through mango-flavoured beauty products promising to cleanse away the last 2 months build up of jungle mud, sweat and grime. Yes, I’m afraid us GVI Amazon girls bring a whole new meaning to ‘mud mask’, even ‘mud bath’ given an appropriate downpour. Needless to say it’s a little hard to stay clean here.

Despite all this, the jungle is a great place to get fit and feel good about yourself. Just going out for the morning to check the pitfall traps or catching butterflies in the afternoon (aka ‘Extreme Butterflies’ which was named appropriately considering the trails we had to walk to get to the traps, rendering butterfly surveys not for the faint-hearted) could mean subjecting yourself to a boot camp-style obstacle course. It’s a great place to push your physical limits and increase your fitness. Hmm… GVI Amazon Biggest Loser??

The best thing about working your tail off in the field (sometimes literally if you manage not to succumb to the charms of Galak or Mani Cero candy bars!) is coming back to camp and having a refreshing shower with cold water pumped from the stream- or the more au-naturale option of a ‘Strosh’ (a stream wash) to wash off all that hard work. And what better way to do that than with some newly purchased Avon products to feel good as new again!

Now for that blow-up couch…

Jasmine Rowe, GVI Amazon Base Manager