La Hesperia - the beginning

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
Trip End Jun 25, 2009

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm writing this sitting under my mosquito net at La Hesperia and what a week it's been. We arrived at the reserve on Monday morning, after a two hour bus ride from Quito, through densely forested mountains. We had to walk for one and half kilometres up from where the bus dropped us off, following a stoney path up hill through the dense jungle before we even got to the reserve.
There are 14 volunteers here currently, aged between 20 and 50, with six of us from the UK, an aussie couple, three Americans, two germans and a swiss girl. It's very sociable and all the volunteers live in a shared house on the grounds. They work us pretty hard though, with breakfast at 7.30am, and work from 8.30am-12 and then 2-5! So far we've spent the days planting trees, clearing space round new saplings in the forest to stop the jungle from smothering them, looking after banana trees, corn crops, milking cows and harvesting sugar cane. Alternating Fridays you either get to take the day off if you wanting to travel somewhere that weekend, or go for a guided walk exploring different areas of the reserve, which is what we did today. I've been surprised how tropical and jungly the forest is, with colourful flowers everywhere, and vegetation, vines and trees all entwined with each other, dripping with mosses and plants, forming an often impenetrable mass. Where would we be with out machetes!! Most of the work we do involves some chopping and clearing with a machete and we've both become quite handy with one. Chris in particular has taken a liking to it!!
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