Alright, we’ve made it 2 whole weeks without electricity, hot water, internet and ATMs! And we’re still alive! Not surprisingly, we ran out of cash and had to take our day off a little early to sort things out before we start working with our cats later this week. We’re currently in Trinidad, a town about 4 hours away from the park, near the Amazon basin. Anyway, its not an interesting town, but we have bug-free beds, hot water, a fan, lights, plugs, and WIFI! What more could we need?
To catch everyone up, when we last posted we were on our way to Ambue Ari, a nature reserve and animal sanctuary in the rural Bolivian jungle. At first we planned to stay for a month, but then were told we had to wait a five or six days for cat as a huge group of volunteers had arrived just before us, which turned into waiting 2 weeks for a cat after several people decided to stay longer. So, I believe we’ll officially be here through May 15th, which means, no regular communication until after then. There is a town about an hour away with internet, and we still have another full day off before our time is up, but I wouldn’t expect much as we’d usually rather be catching up on sleep, doing laundry, and finding real food with our spare time then waiting for 30 minutes for Gmail to load.
There’s a lot we could write about Ambue Ari, but as its late I think I’ll leave this short for now. Daily life is a challenge – both physically and mentally. We get up at 6:30, work from 7-8, breakfast from 8-9, then work from 9:30-12/12:30, lunch/break from 12:30-2, then work from 2-5/6, with dinner at 6:30, and we’re usually in bed by 10:30 or 11 most nights.
Tyler has been doing a lot of construction, and I have worked with just about every animal in the park except the cats, which as you can imagine, is torturous for me. But it turns out monkeys and birds do exist that I actually like, who knew?! There’s between 70-75 volunteers and staff here (a full camp!) so we’re always around people, nice people and incredibly irritating ones. The food is so-so, meager breakfasts, fantastic huge lunches, and a carbohydrate packed slop for dinner. Saturdays we have half days which means we’re free to take naps, do laundry, and go to either the nearby town of Santa Maria, or further into Guarayos for food and internet. And then, there’s the weather, either hot and humid, pouring rain, or pleasantly warm and breezy, but completely unpredictable. And, the multitudes of mosquitoes, tarantulas (one lives in our room), other spiders, tiny bugs in the bed, straw mattresses, more bugs in general, cockroaches, muddy, wet trails, having to wear damp boots, dirty crazy looking clothes, and always itching and generally feeling dirty. And cold showers.
But, there’s also the animals, the joy of working with the few people that have honest intentions to serve at the camp, and the reward of working hard a good cause. Plus, the jungle, despite the fact that its always trying to kill you, is amazing and beautiful! It also feels nice to be settled for awhile, and be a part of something. We also have other nice little things, like a shop nearby that sells beer and candy among other things (enough to make an horrible day better), a generator we can use to charge electronics,and Friday-night party-night in Santa Maria. It’s a struggle, but it’s worth it, especially once we start working with our cats on Thursday!
That being said, there’s photos of the first 2 weeks HERE, and more updates to come later as we have all day tomorrow to laze about our hotel room and relax, woohoo!!
p.s. Happy Easter to everyone, I hear its coming up soon! We’ll be missing everyone! ❤