1st Volunteer week
Went to Ambato for the carnival 2 weeks ago but didn´t actually get to see the procession. We were pretty tired so looked around the city and had something to eat but didn´t really do anything.
The next day we headed to the project. It was a bit different to what I expected. It wasn't very far in the jungle so you could hear cars go past on the main road. A couple of the volunteers introduced themselves and talked about what they had been doing. It seemed that it was not as meaningful as i thought but I would try and make up my own mind. There also seemed to be an issue with food but the first meal as really good but it all seemed to go downhill from there.
The first week was pretty good. On Monday we cleared a field with a machete to plant plantains and in the afternoon we planted some endangered trees in the forest. On Tuesday we walked 1.5 hours into the jungle to a lookout with an awesome view and carried big planks of wood from 15 minutes away from the lookout which as probably the hardest manual labour I've done in my life. The planks weighed loads and were long and awkward and we did this Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. The boards were to help complete the lookout but we didn´t know hat the lookout house as for. We also slept on wooden planks which killed my back. Not forgetting the amount of mosquito bites I got it as all worth it to see the waterfall. It was so nice after a couple of hard day's work to shower in there and it was in this valley in the jungle. Really nice. We returned on Wednesday and just chilled. On Thursday it rained and we helped build part of the chicken coup in the afternoon. I felt quite feverish on the Thursday night probably because of the boiled stream water I drank and didn´t work on Friday morning. We went to Puyo, a town 1.5 hours away on the bus for Friday night and I had about 3 hamburgers in the day to compensate for the lack of meat at the project. as good to have a hot shower and sleep outside a mosquito net. Also got to watch six nations and Liverpool lose to Middlesborugh with Anthony which made me feel a lot better. When we got back on Saturday a group of 17 Americans arrived for "alternative spring break". They would not be staying with us but would be working with us. They were staying with families in Arutam rather than at the volunteer house. On Sunday there as a surprise addition to our lunch. there was a bit of chicken and rice that tasted of rice. In one sense I was happy that the food as better but annoyed that a group of Americans arriving had to make the food improve. We had a fire in the night where we got to get to know them a bit better. They seemed ok and eventually we got to know a few of them quite well.