Aaaaaand I’m back! With a final key stroke today I finished entering my last line of date into the excel spreadsheet. It is beyond insane that I am actually done collecting data for this project. Nine weeks of hard work gathering mosquitoes has now come to a close and this year’s chapter of Amazonian adventures has ended. In total, I have been living and working in the rainforest for more than five months in the State of Madre de Dios, Peru. How it has changed me… granted I am still the same ol’ Kat Fountain, crazy and all, but I can’t help but feel like I know myself better than ever, and that I have truly tapped into my life’s calling: working towards conservation of Neotropical forests. In the pursuit of happiness, I have placed my foot inside the door.
Oh Sachavacayoc, never without surprises. Que suerte he tenido con todos cosas! What luck I have had with everything! My best friend in the whole world, Liz Kimbrough, happened to be in Peru this month and is a fantastic botanist/field researcher to boot. I needed a volunteer, and she made some time to travel with me and help me out in the forest for a week. She has an extraordinary internship with Appropedia.org studying sustainable development and intentional communities throughout South America with her first stop being in Peru. As mentioned before, Sacha is the land of the world’s most wonderful little critters. Liz and I worked hard collecting mosquitoes and then made the most of all the time in between. This included exploring the lakes, taking night walks and hiking the breathtaking trails. I hope you will enjoy the photos below of all the tiny wonders of the rainforest seen in the past two weeks by yours truly. Also included in these adventures was my very dear friend and past volunteer, Angel. He has literally been an angel, helping me not only with the project, but by sharing his vast knowledge of the forest. I am forever grateful for his kindness in the past couple months.
On one of the night hikes we came across what Liz dubbed as “the Muppet”. This white fluffy critter is a fly in its larval stage, hobbling along a branch trying very successfully to look like a fungus. Unreal… seriously.
One morning I woke up to find that the river had jumped up onto the banks and risen over 10ft.
Two days later, the same set of stairs looked like this:
What next… well, this girl is taking a vacation. And not just any vacation either! Liz and I are going to take a three day bus ride (with a stop in Cusco) to the tropical beach town of Mancora. Where the beer flows like wine and the waves instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. The waves are supposed to be mellow but clean at this time of year and I am going to surf until my arms fall off and my skin becomes so saturated with ocean water that I will be a living raisin. “What?” you say, “Living in Peru for six months hasn’t been a vacation??” Not exactly! I’ve been covered with sweat and bug spray for 149 days eating nothing but white rice and meat for the most part. Best experience of my entire life? Yes. Ready to lay on a beach and eat ceviche in between surf sessions? Absolutely. I’ll keep posting while I travel for the next three weeks and hope that you come along for the ride. This year has been epic, for lack of a better word, and the good times just keep on rolling along. Thanks for checking in everyone!! Cuidate…