Life on the farm

Trip Start Mar 10, 2009
Trip End Apr 10, 2009

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Where I stayed
Rainsong Animal Sanctuary

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

hello everyone! Turns out that the Internet is not very far away from where we are staying. It is expensive though, so we will probably check once a week while we are here. I hope everyone is doing well. We are happy and healthy and working VERY hard here at Rainsong. So far Dan and I have helped to build two large animal for a wild cat (our first project it was quite large and had to be extremely sturdy) and another for four goats. We are working alongside 11 other volunteers. We have our own shelter to sleep in... we get a separate one because we are a couple, there are five others staying in a shelter and the rest either camp or rent apartments. We have one shared kitchen and have been making some meals with the other volunteers. There is a cold water outdoor shower, which I have been using at least twice a day. The weather is very hot and very dry here. We have been buying water in 5 gallon jugs, which saves us lots of money and keeps us very hydrated. Soo... what is's sort of a cross between a farm and a tropical animal sanctuary of sorts. The mission is to rescue and nurse back to health injured animals of all shapes and sizes then either release them, or if they can't be released but are endangered, we try to pair them up to mate so we can release babies. People bring animals in from the surrounding area or a government agency will bring them in. We are regulated by the Costa Rica government but don't receive funding from them. This weekend, a large group of biologists are coming to inspect the sanctuary and make sure it's on the up and up. The animals range from baby squirrels, monkeys, anteaters, a kinkajou (really cute animal that looks like a cross between a teddy bear and a sloth), Peccary pig, pacas, Tucans, Parrots many other birds, porcupines, deer, chickens, goats, wild cats and lots of turtles. Our time is spent between caring for the animals (yes! I really do get to bottle feed a baby monkey!) and then also building cages, haling things and doing other random tasks. we are  worn at the end of each day. Our boss of sorts, Mary, is a wild Texan lady who knows vast amounts of information about animals and gardening in the tropics. She is married to a rasta costa rican, Simon, who is really nice and at any given time has four goats and three dogs following him around. There is a long term volunteer here, Christine, who is also a yoga teacher, she leads a meditation for everyone each morning. We really like all of the other volunteers. They are from all over the world.

During our time here, Dan became the designated ¨handy man.¨ He built a goat pen, a cat house, a giant shelving unit to house small cages for things like squirrels and skunks, and he worked very hard on the initial construction of a giant bird aviary that required cementing and fencing. I think that he really enjoyed this role...I spent some of my time helping with construction, one day hauling massive wood posts out of the jungle (that was tough) and the rest of the time I worked at the sanctuary caring for the animals and doing some gardening. It t was really nice to be there for a month because by the end, we really felt like we knew the routine. It was a wild experience getting to care for tropic animals. My favorite was taking out Änti¨the ant eater to graze for ants. When we first arrived two baby squirrels were brought in who fell out of a tree. They were abandoned and had worms. One of them was injured in his eye and we thought he was going to loose his sight. Though our loving care they flourished and grew to be quite large. We bottle fed them every two hours and gave drops to the boy  squirrel with the bad eye. Funny enough, I had an eye infection and went to the pharmacy and they gave me the same drops....worked for me as well..
During our time off, which we were able to squeeze in a little. We did some things that we both love. We went snorkeling in the ocean with a tourist group. We were able to see all sort of interesting sea life, my favorite was the star fish. We had an amazing fresh lunch on a little island and then went back for a second round of snorkeling. Dan and I were the last ones to get in the boat. On our return to the main land we saw two giant whales!
On another day off we did some hiking in Cabo Blanco park. It was a four hour hike with a beach stop in the middle. We saw a lot of f interesting trees, different types of butterflies and of course monkeys. While we were swimming a group of monkeys came into the beach and got a little too close to our belongings. We had to rush out of the water and scare them away. By time we had finished exploring, we were the last to leave the park.

We were able to attend a school function with Mary on a trip to Cobano. We did projects with five different classes. We made model clay animals and paper mache butterflies. It was wonderful to be back in the company of litttle ones. From Cobano Dan and I took and extra day off and went to a little surf town called Santa Teresa. We swam and ate tasty food (Thia) for a day. We walked all the way back to Rainsong (somewhere around 14 kilometers), it was well past dark when we finally got into bed.
When it was our time to leave, we felt proud of our accomplishments, sad to leave all of our new friends (human and critter) but also excited for our next adventure...

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csliberatore on

Happy St. Patty's Day, you are in the Green!
So good to get word from you and to hear about your shelter, friends and work.
It does sound like you are working hard. I love that your start your days with Yoga. I bet you could write a book about the team of volunteers that you are working with. Spring is on the way here. Keep posting. I long to hear from you and think about you every day.

Mom, Claudia

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