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, March 12, 2012

The GVI Amazon 2012 Huaorani Jungle Challenge COMPLETED!

The GVI Amazon 2012 Huaorani Jungle Challenge is now complete!

Fifteen GVI Amazon volunteers and staff members made their way down muddy hills, across fast flowing rivers, up monstrous inclines, helped build part of a traditional house and paddled along a river in the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Thank you to all of the volunteers who took part and a massive thank you to everyone who has donated, so far we have raised a whopping £4333 (12/03/2012). If you haven’t donated yet and want to add your own contribution visit

Over the coming days we will be posting a blog from each day of the challenge written by our intrepid explorers. So, here is how the first day went…. and remember to check back every couple of days!

Phil B, Assistant Base Manager

Challenge Day 1

Day 1 was the hardest walking day and consisted mainly of mud, rain, hills and crossing rivers on slippery logs.

We left at 6am in a downpour, got the canoe and a truck to the village where we’d start and got the heavy packs on. It had been raining most of the night so everything was dripping and thick with mud.

The hills were the first obstacle, taking around a hour just for the first one, clambering up the steep muddy hills, with all our gear and wellies it was a tricky slippery task, all the time checking there weren’t any snakes or other dangerous beasts where we were putting our hands.

The first animal we spotted was a giant earthworm, half eaten but still about 2 feet long with spines along its side and still wriggling! We also saw a baby woodpecker that fell on the ground as we walked through, squawking away, with a yellow chest and funky spiky tuft of feathers on its head.

Due to the rain many rivers were a lot higher and faster so we couldn’t easily cross them so we had to build bridges from surrounding logs and branches. This slowed us down and was rather tricky and scary crossing them with our heavy packs and wet boots. On the occasion we had to cross a larger river where we had to wade across with water up to our shoulders, with the strongest people carrying the larger packs over their heads.

After about 9 hours, soaked through and exhausted we came to the village Wentaro, just as the sun started to come out, showing the clearing and wooden houses. We set up our hammocks on the floor of a casa typica, a large building made of wood with an interweaving roof of leaves, and met the locals who greeted us with painted red faces as a welcome. In the evening the community gave us a traditional dance, dancing in a line chanting, explaining how they were happy we came. We all joined in on their hunting dance, holding onto each other, dancing in a circle and making animal noises which ended in a forced marriage for Tom and Lu which involved chanting loudly while huddled around them.

We were all relieved to get some dinner and get to bed, listening to the river outside. Overall an exhausting but fun and satisfying day 1 of the challenge, anticipating what’s in store for the rest of the trip (hoping for less hiking!)

Liz Smith, 8 week leadership intern + Brad St John Jones, 8 week volunteer