Well, since the last time I posted I have been pretty busy! I spent the first week in February working as a facilitator with a student group traveling to the lodges. The students were from The Field School in Washington D.C. traveling with an organization called Environmental Expeditions/Eco Teach. The program is very similar to Global Explorers’ program so I jumped at the chance to work with them. The group was made up of 22 high school students and 3 teachers. I think everyone had a great time except me, I ended up being sick the entire time they were here! By the time they left I was feeling much better, but I still haven’t gotten rid of my cough. Each time I get to go out into the jungle I get to see something new. This time we spotted these amazing caterpillars by the canopy walkway!
We also went to see Victorian Lilies, which somehow I have not gone to see since my first time here nearly 13 years ago!
Another highlight of the week for me was getting to meet Pacho and Lyka’s puppies, they live at Explornapo.
|Pacho and Lyka's Puppies!|
We ended the week visiting Monkey Island, (a different location from the place I visited after Christmas). They have many of the same species, but a few different ones like Red Howler Monkeys which I have never seen in the wild, (I have only heard them). When we arrived one climbed onto one of the students and made his presence known! It was thrilling to see these monkeys up close and personal.
|With a Red Howler Monkey|
When I got back to Iquitos I changed rooms at Peter’s house. Now I am in a room that is more like an apartment because it is made up of a bedroom, a bathroom, and another room that is like a living room. Two very exciting things about my new room- air conditioning and hot water! I never imagined that I would move to Iquitos and have hot water and A/C! The hot water heater has to be turned on about 40 minutes before I want to use it, and right now the hot water only comes out in a trickle when I turn it on, but still, it is hot water! Also, for the moment I have a TV and cable! Enrique, who also lives here, is letting me use it while he is in Lima for a few weeks.
|My Living Room|
Also awaiting me when I finished my week in the jungle was a new desk in the CONAPAC office! James and I will share the desk, but he spends most of his time out in communities, so when I am in the office I will usually have it to myself!
|My New Desk|
I have also started a personal project at the office which is to spoil Ricky the guard dog. He is about 100 years old and moves about as fast as a snail. The only time I have seen him very animated is when food is involved, so I have started bringing him treats and leftovers from lunch. I guess I’m missing my dogs from home, my dog Moxie died in January; and feeling bad because I have decided that Luna, the puppy at my house, has to go! I love dogs but she has worn out her welcome! No one is here taking care of her most of the day, she needs a lot more attention, plus she pees all over the house and terrorizes Tony the cat.
Saturday I had lunch with my friends Roger and Mary and their family. First we stopped at their house because Roger wanted to show me James- a baby margay or ocelot that someone gave him! Roger is not sure if it is an ocelot or a margay, the people who gave it to him only told him his name is James! Roger is in the process of figuring out what to do with James, he seems pretty little to be released into the wild and even if he were bigger its hard to say what his survival chances would be. I imagine that he will end up at some type of animal refuge if they can find one with the resources to take care of him.
|With James at Roger's House|
Also on Saturday I finally made it to the stadium for a national league soccer game! I watched Iquitos’s team CNI (Colegio Nacional de Iquitos) play La U (Universitario) from Lima. They tied, it was a pretty good game. One of my favorite things to do when I lived in Honduras was to go to the stadium, so I have been anxious to go here. I don’t really consider myself much of a sports nut but after my first game in Honduras I was hooked. There is always an exciting atmosphere in the stadium, lots of passionate fans, lots of energy.
|My Friend Alberto and I at the Stadium|
March is going to be another busy month for me. I have two more student groups with Environmental Expeditions/Eco Teach plus the school year is starting here so I will be visiting Las Malvinas school as much as possible to get them excited about working with their school garden this year. Not to mention I’ll be turning 30 at the end of the month and then moving to Explorama Lodge for about 6 weeks to work in the library! I just booked my tickets for a visit home at the end of May for about a month. Time is always flying here so I know that May will be here before I know it!
|Passion Fruit Flower at Las Malvinas|