Today we are lucky enough to have an update from one of our current volunteers, Laura Hartmans who is out in the Amazon...
If I had to choose one overall theme for this week at GVI Amazon, it would have to be community partners. On Wednesday morning, I had my first opportunity to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) at a local elementary school. That night, a group of local families and friends came over for dinner and a tour of the science museum volunteers and staff have created at GVI base camp. On Thursday, seven kids and three adults came from the nearby Agua Santa elementary school and spent the day at camp.
I was a bit nervous for my first TEFL lesson, but the kids made it easy. They were so eager to learn and incredibly well behaved. Charlie and I taught the kids how to describe themselves and their friends with words like hair, eyes, mustache, fat, thin, and colours. After the lesson we had a two hour walk back to base through the jungle. Staff member Sateesh and GVI volunteer Mahalia went to teach at another nearby school, Rio Bueno, that same morning.
Wednesday night we were able to have a group of locals -- interested in learning about GVI and the work we are doing in the rainforest -- over to camp for dinner and a tour of the on-site museum. It was really exciting to have so many new faces at dinner. Most of the volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to practise their Spanish skills. Everyone is already looking forward to seeing them again at our Sunday football game.
On Thursday long-term conservation intern Vicky ran her Leadership project. She invited students and parents from the Agua Santa school to base for a day. We showed the kids a Blue Crowned Manakin (gorgeous bird) that Lana caught in a mist net; had them identify butterflies from our traps; and look at mammal pictures from an SD card from one of our motion-sensor camera traps placed in the forest. In the museum the kids got to make animal prints in the sand, learn about potential dangers in the rainforest, and look at butterfly wings under a microscope. Finally, lunch. Again we enjoyed the fresh faces at meal time.
It was great to spend so much time with our community partners this week. Their interest in GVI’s work makes it seem even more worthwhile.