Saturday, March 14, 2009

So many stories, such slow internet!

This week was definately the most eventful so far in my trip! Ill start at the beginning ... working with Leo and Vanesso has been amazing. Even when you´re sick, hot, dirty, and exhausted you still want to go out into the mosquito infested jungle to walk your cat!

Vanesso´s previous volunteer only had a few days to train me so we didn´t get a chance to walk all of his trails. In addition he has quite a few and they haven´t been maintained very well so there is a lot of patuju (big leaves) growing over. One day he decided to walk his long trail to the lagoon and I though no probelem. Well we walked and walked and he was perfectly content but I eventually realized that we must be on another cats trail because we had ben walking forever. The cats at the park ever interact for many reasons, one being that it can be dangerous (for the cats and the volunteers) and is very stressful for the cats to even smell another cat around their cage or trails. I figured this was no serious problem, I would just backtrack and find the original trail. How can you get lost in the jungle when you´re on a trail?

Easilly, especially when there are a lot of trails! The general procedure when you get lost is to wait until it gets dark and the volunteers come looking for you. But, there have been a few people who wandered out of the park because they went off trail (not sugessted) and acctaully slept in the jungle with thier cats! I think Vanesso finally realized we were lost- the cats are very perceptive to your emotions and decided to climb up a tree and wait it out. Luckilly I could hear the road and so I tied him to the tree and finally found my way back to camp via the road that runs through the park to get some help. We found Vanesso right were I left him and eventually got back to camp around 10pm. So I got to walk a cat in the jungle at night!

It´s currently the wet season and the dry season normally arrives in March. This year there hasnt been much rain but I think the past few days made up for it. It downpoured for three days straight this week and the soil in the rainforest does not absorb water quickly. Everything was flooded! Including the baños! Two of the boys have dug a new toilet now, but it accross the road which isn´t fun in the middle of the night. There is no drainage system at camp so we had to dig new canals so that the rain wouldnt flood all of the buildings. The trails were another story. Vanesso´s entire cage and the surrounding area was under at least a foot of water and in some parts it was waist deep! It was like walking through a lake! Leo gets really excited in the rain so walking him was fun that day. Im glad the rain has stopped thought because Im already tired of being wet all the time!

Im currently training a new volunteer, Rhys from New Zealand on Leoncio. The last guy I was training got eaten. (joking!) He is sick and didnt get on too well with Leo and Im not sure if he´s staying at the park much longer. Im heading to Santa Maria (the town near the park) for some dinner tonight with some other volunteers because one of our friends is leaving. I cant believe I´ve been here for 3 weeks already! I´ve decided that Im going to stay until at least the 15th of April because I cant imagine leaving any earlier. I know I´ll be back in SA again and have another chance to see Machu Picchu anyways. Until next week ... besos!

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