Feb 082014

Saturday, my first day here!
Flight was good, the cabin and the overhead lockers were sprayed before we landed. A large number of Japanese tourists wore masks throughout the flight and started screaming when we were all sprayed!!! On arrival I was collected by someone who ushered me into a truck with a local family lots of food and  lots of children!! I was told that all the volunteers were in a hotel for the weekend and did I want to join them, not sure what to do  I decided that it was better to get settled in and find my bearings so to speak!! We began our climb up to the reserve and then we arrived……….. I cannot begin to say how I felt!!!! Excitement as well as surprise I think because I had planned this trip for so long and I had checked out the website for the charity and looked at all the photos as well as much more, I had a picture in my mind……..it was not quite like that!!! Im sure it will be fine I just need to get used to the differences.   The night was strange as all you could hear were the dogs barking every so often, but I’m here and it’s another day.

We really are in a tropical rain forest, the area is mostly beautiful, there is a wild horse wandering around and two pigs that always seem to be hungry, a kitten has arrived recently which apparently might go as the bird life could be effected if the cat starts multiplying!!!  Lots of chickens….. Not sure how to describe the house as at first glance it looks a bit like a sturdy wooden chalet style but it’s more of a shack! It puts whole new meaning on the description Rustic charm!! Two very basic  toilets and three cold showers a short walk from the house! There are two other similar buildings, one which is another volunteer dwelling and a covered area which is used to cook and eat and play table tennis, the dogs come to eat also as they are fed on our left overs…..ps.. They have the biggest spiders here that seem to come out to greet me just as I brush my teeth across the way in the shower building, but then they have a purpose too don’t they? to swallow the flys!!!

Sunday 2nd February
Today there is one other volunteer here as he has just come back from visiting all the islands on a organised boat trip which he said was wonderful, the rest of the volunteers arrive back later today and then  we will be given our instructions for the jobs tomorrow… Golly the machetes look huge and there are lots of them, so tomorrow mosquito head net, gardening gloves and repellant and I’m ready to go!!!! Hope I get a lesson on how to use the machete otherwise I could be lethal!!!!

Monday 3rd February
My first working day, it began with a meeting of all the volunteers detailing the day ahead, we spent the morning chopping Morra. (looks like blackbury bushes), it is everywhere, apparently it used to cover a lot more of the island  but now thanks to volunteers clearing areas it is much better however there is a lot more work to do as it has destroyed precious plant life!    It was really hard work and when we finished it felt as though we had barely cleared anything and there was twenty of us…..  Later in the day I was taken down a muddy slope to see a beautiful waterfall, it was stunning, along the way the pig decided to join us and was very grumpy indeed, he just appeared from nowhere and kept nudging and pushing us, he was very big! I think he may have been hungry!!!!!

Tuesday 4th February
It rained all day, in the morning we were taken by truck on a 45 minute journey, (there are a lot of pot holes in the roads) to the nursery  where we planted hundreds of seedlings and moved soil around to get rid of large stones.  Later we visited the tortoise sanctuary, very special indeed… There were baby tortoises in a sort of glass enclosure, to protect them from Rats!!  Apparently you cannot tell if a tortoise is male or female until they are about 20!!!  I have some really good photos of the very big ones, we were told it takes ten people to lift a giant one!!!! When we returned from our work we were all so hungry only to find that there was no water because due to the rain the water pipe had burst in the hillside, three of the volunteers were asked to go into the river and try to repair the pipe,so it was very hard for the cook to prepare our food as it was rice. So no showers or toilet facilities.  Thank heavens for deet is all I can say as the mosquitoes are multiplying as I write this!! Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday 5th February
Water turned back on for a while then off for a few hours. It rained all night, I have never heard rain like this before!!!!
Today we have made coffee, there are coffee plants everywhere and after they are picked and left to dry for a few days the beans are ready to be cooked, firstly we ground them in an old fashioned grinder fastened to the stairs, the shell needs to be removed before cooking also, a fire was made on bits of old concrete the beans were put in a metal container and placed on the fire and cooked till they turned dark brown and smelt delicious, the whole process took about 2 hours with a lot of us taking part, we then ground the beans into fine coffee powder ready for drinking. We can buy the end result for 10$ a kilo!  In the afternoon there was a problem with the water pipe again and Manuel the guy who knows where the pipes are laid could not come up to the Reserve to help us sort it out as he was asleep!

Thursday 6th February
Raining again! up early, off in the truck  to the nursery to move soil and planting.  The sun came out and it was very hot.  We went to the see the tortoises too they are magnificent.  The truck collected us at lunch time then back to eat, I am hungry all the time!!! I dream about a really big bar of chocolate and a Sunday roast I will so enjoy it it when I go home!!!  It’s a shame that some of the friendly volunteers are leaving tomorrow but there are ten new arrivals on Sunday so hopefully they will be friendly.  It is very hard work here and maybe because the conditions are so basic and the weather so hot it feels really tough still I’m sure we are doing a lot of good work. Tomorrow we are off to the beach to have a group activity with a barbecue, yummy!!! then we will stay in town for the weekend til Sunday afternoon I am so looking forward to contacting my family as there is only wi fi in the town! And there will be NO Mosquitos!!!!

Friday 7th February

Beach today very hot lots of sea lions on the beach when we were changing I nearly sat on one mistaking it for a rock he was a bit grumpy with me, I have some lovely photos, all of the volunteers have booked into the hotel in town for the weekend,,,,,,, hot showers, no mosquitoes!

Sent from my iPad

Sent from my iPad


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