So, my second week (and a bit) has come to an end. Starting to feel really settled into life here in the Amazon and the routine of work. Monday to Friday we work from 7:30am to 4pm. This includes a mile walk to our work from the base where we live to where we walk. We are however pretty good at hitchhiking so we frequently dont actually have to walk this distance. So far I have travelled in the back of a truck, a van, the boot of someones car, on a pile on pineapples and in a military vehicles. The Ecuadorians appear to be very happy to pick up people for a lift even if they dont have any space!
We then work to 11:30am, when we walk back to our base for lunch and a siesta (still not decided if a siesta is a good thing or not), then back to work afterwards. Work is pretty varied from planting trees, fruit and vegetables in the gardens, composting, weeding the very extensive nursery and gardens. We also spend quite a lot of time chopping down trees, im assured for the right reasons though! Most of this work is done with a machete, which I am slowly getting used to now. Last Friday one of the rangers who works at the centre took us on a hike into the rainforest, which was amazing and we saw loads of different species of plants, insects, trees.
I have pretty much got used to the wet here now. The humidity means that you are constantly damp, but since that becomes normal you no longer even notice! The weather is either boiling hot and very sunny or it rains. When it rains it rains. Last Thursday it rained for 24hrs solidly, the worse part about this is that once you get things wet they never get dry again! The other things I have become accustomed to is the insects. There was a tarantula above the hammock I was lying on last night and I wasnt even bothered, I suspect that this would not be the case in the UK! I continually have ant or mosquito bites all over my legs and arms, despite my best efforts.
Evenings and weekends are spent chilling out in hammocks or heading to local bars or clubs. Last Friday night we went to a club basically in the middle of nowhere except for being next to a dual carriageway. I suspect we were the only gringos who have ever been there, but by the end of the night we were getting shout outs from the DJ being shown how to salsa dance properly! The only thing about Ecuadorian clubs is that there seems to be little sense of boundaries. If you are a girl and you are not dancing then it is totally fine for an Ecuadorian guy to grab you onto the dancefloor. I have not yet found a way to refuse one of these situations!
The other volunteers here are great. There are 10 of here in total, from Ecuador, USA, UK, Canada, Germany and Sweden, so lots of variety. I am one of the oldest, which was kind of weird to start with but its amazing how quickly you forget about that kind of thing. Given how we spend every minute of every day together we have all made friends very quickly!