Sunday, July 19, 2015

Story Time

I know, I know.... I'm very late on my posts! Honestly, I really don't like being on my computer when I'm here. My time here has already gone by so fast, so I want to soak it all in while I'm here. If I tried to fill you guys in on EVERYTHING then this blog post would be a few pages long. I thought it may be funner to have story time instead! I'm just going to post some pictures, and then .. you know.. tell a story about it.

Here we go....

This is me and a monkey! After working at Gamitana, a fruit farm down the river, we visited this little guy and other animals. There were macaws, parakeets, many snakes, pigs, and others! This little guy, Cappuccino, was SO adorable! He would swing on our arms, jump on us from trees, and try to crawl inside of our shirts! He had a previous owner that couldn't take care of him anymore, so Inkaterra took him in. 

Don Pedro is a sweet man that I also met at Gamitana. Let me tell you somethin', this many knows how to clear ground with a machete. We spent a lot morning cutting down small trees and jungle brush with machetes for a new crop. He approached me by asking my name and telling me how beautiful I was. Then my heart had melted in a puddle beneath my feet. 
I thought I wouldn't ever see this gentleman again after we left Gamitana, but he had come to the station I'm staying at to get some wood! I was so excited when I saw him. Then this picture was taken. 

These two pictures go together! We went to a different farm to build a nursery, plant, and clear more ground. The water was so low that we couldn't get the boat to the port, so we had to carry around 250 plants and various tools through a long trek of mud. I think I fell about 5 times. Me and the other girls all fell in together when trying to help another up, and we almost lost several boots in the mud. Our hard work was later paid off by a very generous family we were working with a cooler full of beers. 

I've been waking up at 5:30AM to set up bird banding nets. This is one of the birds we caught. Once we catch them we take various measurements and then release them! 

I love all of the buttress roots here! That was one of the things I was most excited to see. I just think they are beautiful. This is also where me and the other girls had a "photo shoot." We wore nothing but leaves and paint from a plant I got when we visited the native community. I would have posted on of those, but I'm trying to keep this PG. It was loads of fun, even as the mosquitoes feasted on our bodies!

Oh birthday happened. I had a very relaxing day! In the morning I did get two eggs smashed on my head, because traditions says that's what needs to happen. haha And that beautful cake the beautiful senoras baked for me was later smashed in my face, because that needs to happen too! The beautiful necklaces I am wearing were gifts! The shorter one was made by my guide, Yasmani. It's so beautiful. The long one was also handmade by my favorite girls. They actually made three, so we can all have one. I also was given a lovely card signed by the volunteers and workers. We celebrated the night before, that night, and then again on the weekend in the nearest town! I couldn't have asked for more. 

This was another gift on my birthday! Coming back from the field, Yasmani and were walking along until I hear him yell "BUSHMASTER!" The Bushmaster is one of the most poisonous snakes in the Amazon.. thankfully it wasn't really a bushmaster! Anyway, Yas went running into the forest chasing after this snake! Around 10 minutes later he comes walking out holding this huge snake! He said it was a surprise for my birthday, because I've been wanting to see a snake for a couple weeks now! This is just another thing that makes me feel even more safe by having Yas as my guide. 

Almost every single meal here contains rice, potatoes, and meat. I'm not complaining, but I've got to do some sort of extra physical activity if I don't want to gain 20 pounds while I'm here! My favorite place to run is the canopy trail and then I climb the 155 steps up to the bridges. I am so thank to be living in such a beautiful place! I also had to take a selfie to represent OSU in Peru! Go Beavs!

These are the other two girls that are staying at the field station. This picture was taken right after I got the egg smashed on my head by Katy (blue shirt.) Then there is Anna on the right. I can't imagine what my trip would be like if I hadn't of met these girls. I've never grown so close to two people in such a short amount of time. I've have only opened up to a few other people as much as I have with these ladies. We have all learned so much from each other, and have helped us grow in so many ways. This weekend we had to see Anna off, and it was one the hardest things I've had to do. Katy and I left the bus station sobbing, but then laughing about how ridiculous we probably look to everyone else inside. We each bought matching bracelets earlier that day to have another thing to remember each other by. But next summer we are going to meet up again in Michigan to drive to Oregon! Matching tattoos are also in the itinerary. I don't know how I've lived my life without knowing you guys before. With that, I'm signing off.

Good night, friends.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

One Week That Went By Way Too Fast

Just finished the first week of my internship! I had planned to go out into the field today with my guide, Yasmani, but it has been storming like no other. The rain starts out as a drizzle, but then quickly turns into a high-pressure washer from the heavens. There is thunder and lightening on and off through the day. It beautiful here no matter the weather, though.

Today is the 4th of July, so me and the other volunteers are going to celebrate appropriately tonight! Happy Independence Day, America. Even the new volunteer from Switzerland, Edward, has the American spirit.

In other news, I got my first tick yesterday. At first I thought it was a scab from my many mosquito bites all over, but then I realized what it was! I'm not sure how it got on the back of my thigh, but I noticed it when I was showering after doing field work. I had to take a picture of the ugly little pest.
I'm sure that I would have already had many more bites (snake, spider, tangarana ant, etc.) if it wasn't for Yasmani. He has already taught me so much about the forest here and the plants and animals inside of it. I've seen a lot of freaky things. Like this spider!
After a long morning spent macheteing through rotten wood and finding beautiful colors like this...  
...we always go to this lime tree, sit on the river bank, and enjoy the view. 
And to put a face to the words, here is my brave leader, Yas. 
I am really enjoying my time here despite waking up every morning scratching my whole body, constantly wearing clothes, and being deprived of chocolate and peanut butter. My spanish has improved a lot, and my card shuffling skills! I can now do the bridge! 

When you guys are enjoying the luxury of a warm shower, please think of me... or maybe not.

Hasta luego,