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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Satellite Camp - a quick quiz

What do you get when you take six Amazonian adventurers, add twelve hours of torrential rain, a campfire built from wet cardboard and a night spent tossing and turning in a jungle hammock?

A) A) A ticket for the very next flight back to civilisation

B) B) Six cases of pneumonia

C) C) A totally fantastic night out

If I had been asked this question before I came on GVI’s Ecuadorian Amazon expedition, I would have immediately ruled out option C). However, on last night’s satellite camp, I discovered that it is possible to be wet, cold and covered in ants, yet still have an awesome time.

When our group set out, ominous black clouds were hanging over the jungle. After half an hour, the rainstorm broke, and within minutes, we were drenched. When we arrived at satellite camp, we started to feel the cold, so our top priority was getting a fire started. This proved a little tricky, as we discovered that damp paper is not the world’s most flammable material! After an hour of increasingly hysterical attempts, (‘This feels like Scotland!’ wailed Ian) we finally crowded around a small smoky fire to eat dinner. As we warmed up, the mood lifted, and soon we were smiling and laughing, potatoes cooking in the embers, clothes hanging out to dry above the flames. After a lot of hilarity, and copious quantities of baked potatoes, we retired to the jungle hammocks for the night, hoping that they had been hung securely by their previous inhabitants and wouldn’t collapse in the night. When we returned to base camp the next day after a morning of mist-netting, the other volunteers couldn’t understand how huddling under a tarpaulin in a thunderstorm could have been so much fun. But wet clothes, campfire food and the sense of being an intrepid jungle explorer are obviously a magic combination, and satellite camp was an experience I will never forget.

Charlotte Trevella, GVI Amazon 5 week volunteer, Oct-Nov 2011