Trip of a Lifetime – Week Four

In the final week of her trip to help the commmunities of the Amzazon and the Galapagos Islands, Natalia and her group head to the humid Amazon rainforest to help build a children’s playground.

Week Four – Camp Amazonia

After another long coach journey and trek into the Amazon Basin, we arrived at Camp Amazonia which we were sharing with two other groups.  It seems crazy to me that I’ve camped in the Amazon rainforest, falling asleep to the sounds of the forest is so relaxing.

We only worked for 1 ½ days whilst at Camp Amazonia.  Our work consisted of scrubbing yellow paint off the walls and re-painting them green. I got the short end of the stick and ended up standing in a pit with spiders and few snakes to scrub moss off the side of the building, I was not impressed and very creeped out!  In the afternoon, I laid brick and plastered for a family in the community of San Roberto.

The next day we got tribal tattoos and paintings on our faces and went for a trek through the jungle, which was full of interesting wildlife and plants.

The undergrowth was so dense that it took a lot of time and effort to walk through it all, we had to cross various rivers and climb up hills and under/over massive trees to reach a beautiful waterfall.  When we stopped, we made crowns out of leaves and ate lemon ants, which tasted good!   We were also baptised into the community, I was baptised as Akillya which translates as star. When we returned from the trek we made our own chocolate using coco beans which the locals had grown.  It tasted nothing like the chocolate we get at home, it was stronger and richer in taste.

After a day off project work I was back helping to build a playground from bamboo and wood for the children.   The heat and humidity in the Amazon made the work very tiring so after work I stayed behind with some of the other girls.  It and it wasn’t long before we were joined by the village children.   We ended up playing frisbee and tag, this was the first time during the trip that we had a real excuse to run and release energy!  Although there was a language barrier we all communicated through facial expressions and body language.  One of the little girls styled my hair, it was one of my favourite evenings of the trip, just being able to relax and play with the children.

On our last night there was a massive tropical storm, lighting filled the sky and the rain poured.  As we left Camp Amazonia everyone had mixed feelings.  We were obviously all excited to be going home after a long hard month of travelling, but also quite sad that this amazing experience and month was coming to an end.

We were all very quiet, reflecting on what we have done, the things we had experienced and the people we had met.  On our way back to Quito, we took a detour and headed down the Amazon River on a boat journey to AmaZOOnico, a rehabilitation centre for exotic animals.

This is situated in the middle of the forest, and looks after animals which were kept cruelly as pets, rescued from the black market or found in unwell in the forest.  After spending the afternoon there we arrived in Quito to spend the night, in the morning we headed to the airport to begin the travelling home.

I would like to thank everyone at Kee Safety and Easi-Dec who enabled me to go on this life changing trip, I cannot thank you enough! I got to see some amazing things, meet some wonderful people but more importantly I got to make a positive difference to the poor communities of Ecuador and for that I am forever grateful.

Natalia.