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Letters From The Amazon - Part Eleven

PART ELEVEN: THE 27 CLUB, CHRISTMAS SCHOOL SPIRIT AND THE FORCES OF NATURE

Hola - well I turned 27! who would have thought but you´re only as old as you feel right? and of course age is just a number. Well here´s more in the day of my life in the Amazon.....

I started the week off by going to one of the schools in the Rainforest where some of the volunteers who teach English go most mornings of the week, but of course their Spanish is very good so I tagged along to see. We had to take a 5 minute bus ride to the 'Monte Alegre School' which was basically two small green buildings which were the classrooms and a patch of land outside where some of the children were playing football.

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What amazed me, despite the fact they got excited to see that there were new visitors, they were getting into the classroom through the wired windows and the teacher was helping them! The classroon itself is pretty sweet. It seems like only half of the children participate in the class - they kind of just split the classroom in two and pull their desks up to the whiteboard thats leant against the wall. Its quite funny actually sitting back and watching as it seemed near impossible to teach teach - they just didn´t seem that interested. The teacher in the classroom was busy teaching the other class by drawing cartoons on the board, but there seemed to be no order at all. The kids were running around the classroom chasing eachother and some even walking out! But some kids were good - getting up to write the english answer on the white board, but by the way I saw it, there was just hardly any effort from them to listen.

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Then one of the volunteers teaching got out his guitar and started to strum to the rhythum for the 'ABC song' which made things pretty fun for them and for me to sing along to. It even got to a point of giving up with teaching and they started to sing ´We Wish You A Merry Christmas´ and the ´Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes´Song! but Christmas time is pretty weird here seeing Christmas Trees in the windows and lights when its sweltering hot. After the class was done, the children went outside to play football again and we made our way onto the main road to sit on the bridge to hitchhike back to the reserve. I looked around the forest and noticed a large patch of land had been cleared with new trees sprouting out, even though one day it would be replenished with fully grown trees, the sight of the barron land sure looked ugly.....and many areas of the Amazon look like this....the downer of clearing the forest so much is apart from loosing the biodiversity abundant in the rainforest, we encourage contributing factors of global warming by destroying the earth's largest land base storage of CO2 by cutting down the trees

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Later on the the reserve - I decided to go up the bird tower again with two new volunteers. The sun was blazing as we set off trekking into the reserve to find the tower buckled up with harnesses. The further you go in, the thicker the canopy becomes, so you´re nearly oblivious to how the weather is looking. As I buckled myself on to the tower which is actually only wide enough to fit both my hands on (really it is narrow), I ascended to about 25 metres above the canopy and started to feel a strong gust of wind with the tree branches swaying around me.

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I looked down at the boys slowly following and called down to them warning it was getting very blustery. I reached the observation deck first now at 30 metres above the canopy and looked across the Amazon to see nothing but pure sunshine and blue skies to my left and foreboding black and grey skies to my right - we had missed the clear spell as the boys came up to join me and there was a crack of thunder and lightning and the black clouds split open and we could see the rain pouring down on the forest in the distance as they slowly creeped towards us.

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The Amazonian storm approaching......

Now the wind was really picking up as the storm was growing closer to us balancing 30 metres above the canopy! We decided it wasn´t the best idea to stick around, so the boys started to hastily start their descent and then I followed. I took one last look out and the blackness was on top of us and darkness fell over the Amazon as the raindrops started to trickle over me. Getting myself back on the ladder - it was swaying from the wind that was getting more and more aggressive and the rain poured harder soaking me as I was trying to keep my grip on the ladder with one hand and changing the karibeener on the harness so I could go lower. The trees were now really rocking about and their roots only go down a metre so they do tend to blow over in storms. It was extreme but what a thrill! I finally made it down in the storm and we had to run through the forest as the thunder roared and lightning cracked woah!! Lets just say we got our full supply of water that day!.......

Speaking of water - I regularly go and bathe in the Rio Napo after work - it´s my most favourite thing to do here in the Rainforest, to and play in the water. The boys fancied putting some life jackets on and actually swimming into the heart of the River and be carried down. The water looked rapid as I watched them swim into the middle and could see their heads bobbing up as I called after them as a joke ´Watch out for Anacondas!´ and carried on bathing. When I looked up again, they had disappeared but didn´t think anything of it. When I got out the river, I could see the bend further down and noticed three figures walking on the shore which I was a bit confused about as it hadn´t seemed very far - It had turned out they had disappeared because they had been swept to the wrong side of the river and sucked into a whirlpool! they said if they didn´t have their life jackets they probably may have drowned - yikes. I later floated a bit down the river but not to that extreme - scary forces in the Amazon.... and look what we found joining us in cleaning our teeth...hello Mr Scorpion....

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Adios!

Sal.

Posted by SalBolton82 11:19 Archived in Ecuador Tagged animals rainforest plants south america amazon ecuador tena medicines

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