Rachel in Ecuador
Hi! It's aboslutely throwing it down here. I don't think I've ever seen rain like it! On Saturday I had my first Bosque (pronounced Bos-kay) which is Spanish for forest. I went in a group and we were in there for about 7 hours. I sweated soooooo much! It was hard work cos a lot was uphill but it was interesting. I've posted pictures of the animals we saw. Here they have hundreds of different animals and plants but they are very few in numbers so you don't always see many. The guide brought our lunch in with us and we had to use leaves as plates! It was really cool. I'm going again with just one other person and the guide on Thursday. On Wednesday I'm on kitchen duty all day so I have to get up at 5:00am! On Saturday I got attacked by army ants on my feet. It was sooooooooooooooooo painful. I had about five on each foot and then they were flying at me. My feet were bleeding and I felt like I had been walking in nettles. One of the other volunteers, Clare, had to use real force to take one of my toe. IT was not letting go - I must have very tasty blood!!!!! The one I am most afraid of though is the Conga or Bullet ant. It's about 2cm long and apparantely if it bites you it feels like you have been shot and it's a searing pain for araound 3 hours. Jack got bitten by one before I got here and his foot swelled to twice its normal size so I'm on a mission to kill them. We also get lots of cockroaches in our cabaÃ±a at night but I feel very safe under my mosquito net! Yesterday I went down to Tena to eat chicken! Everything's made from scratch here and it's all vegetarian but they are currently rearing some chickens and they should hopefully be ready just before I leave so I might get to eat some then! as long as i don't have to watch them being killed or pluck them!!! I'm really beginning to appreciate how lucky we are in the UK. Everything we eat is made by hand - even the fruit juice is squeezed by hand. One of the volunteers had to squeeze 40 lemons for lemonade last week! The water here tastes funny too because they boil it and then filter it but they use tea towels as filters and they have been bleached so it has a bleachy taste - yummy!!!! I had my induction the day before yesterday and I have now come to realise that a really important part of the work we do is not only the manual labour but also education. Not only educating us but also the local people. They don't really understand their community and what they can do to improve it so here we are building an organic garden and when it's mature they will invite people to eat here from the communities so they can see that it is possible to grow food and help the environment. One of the biggest problems here is the oil companies that have all come down and they don't care at all about the locals. They are buying land off them by giving them TVs. Alejo was also telling us that they have, for example built an oil pipe just 9 metres from a school. And as he said, it is a ticking timebomb because at some point it will explode. There is another just outside here. It's very worrying. HE also said that somewhere else there was a lake that two families used to fish from and they grew rice on the banks. There was an oil slick and they were given $180 per family (about 90 pounds). It's disgusting. ALl they care about is making money. They want to tear down the rainforest for their own gain. It`s heartbreaking. He left us all with one thought - how would the world be if every person in it planted just one tree for every year that they are alive? Imagine how different it would be.