Long time no post…

 Posted by Gabrielle Appiah at 11:54 am  Ecuador
Jul 112014

Apologies all, I have been in the rainforest so access to the internet has been scarce. I´m writing this in an internet cafe in Tena (the nearest city to the reserve). Before I tell you about my amazing first day volunteering at Jatun Sacha I should tell you all the great things that happened before this post (WARNING: this will be a long post!)

Let´s rewind back to Sunday 29th – the dream team (made up of 5 awesome people from the community hostel and myself) went to the Telefonica (cable cars) in Quito where we saw some beautiful views of the city by day and night having spent the daylight hours hiking, ordering strangers to take pictures of us (Marrow), horseback riding in the Andes and met a Britney Spears lookalike. A funfair met us at the base where we spent a lot of time and money to end up winning a smiley plush toy (which I cherish dearly – thanks Uma). We missed the last taxi back down the mountain and succumb to hitchiking but in a pick-up truck which took us to the doorstep of our hostel for FREE – best first hitchiking experience ever! Our trip was followed by a delish Italian meal out. Monday 30th consisted of Ovi´s (great guy who works at the hostel) famous free tour of Old Town in Quito where we tried the tastiest juice I will ever have (for just $1)saw the Ecuadorian president and spent time in the extravagant churches. Ovi was also nice enough to take us to the equator where I was crowned ‘egg master’ (I was able to balance an egg on a pin on the equator). On Tuesday we visited the Angel which is a beautiful statue like Christ the Redeemer in Brazil with an alternative view of Quito. I was required to complete an orientation session before starting my volunteer program but I ended up at the biolgical reserve, Jatun Sacha 5 days early because I thought my orientation session was there (7 hours from where it actually was in Quito where I was staying already). I started off tearful about it but the people here are awesome, I was thrown into a match of soccer and I saw a Blue Morpho (the butterfly on the front of the book that influenced me to do this trip) so it was meant to be. Thursday was spent organising everything after the mishap and I decided to continue the plans I’d made to stay in Banos over the weekend (Friday to Sunday) with friends from the first hostel. Banos was brilliant! The hostel was nice as were the people and I had an amazing time canyoning and getting a pedicure in one of the many spas. As it is tourism-central most things opened late which is where your advice came in handy Alan. I’m yet to return on one of my free weekends to do more of the extreme sports.

Anywho, that was that and the real reason I am in Ecuador began today – to conserve the Amazon rainforest! Breakfast is at 6:30am and work starts at 7:30am so i’ve had a double shock to my body clock. It’s a 15 minute walk down the road to the reserve from where our cabins are (which are lovely, modest huts with electricity, 2 beds with mosquito nets and a table). When I went in my jaw dropped because of how B.E.A.Utiful it was and this is just secondary rainforest. We were greeted there by a senior volunteer, Kelly who is volunteering here for the third time. She gave us the shpeel on what work Jatun Sacha have done and what we were about to be apart of and it amazed me how much they have accomplished. The first task we completed was taking newly sprouted trees which had grown under the mother tree from fallen seeds and replanted them in bags of soil in the tree nursery. Having completed that we prepared more bags for new trees in the coming weeks. Lunch served by our masterchef, Alfredo was moy delicioso and we get a long enough break that we also get to enjoy time in the hammocks. After lunch we sieved soil ready for more bags for the trees. All in all it was an easy going, wonderful day.


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