So back to the volunteering … All my thinking about Central America made me remember that apart from Nicaragua, Ecuador was also on my bucket list. When I went to Peru the second part of the trip was staying in a remote lodge in the Amazon rainforest, a 2hr boat trip from civilization (in Puerto Maldonado). Compared to the expanse of space in the mountains the rain forest is very much ‘up close and personal’.
A night safari was on offer so armed with head torches we followed our guide along a winding track and as we walked along he told us to stop, one by one, and turn off our torch. As the track twisted and turned, when the people in front had walked off you couldn’t see anyone in front or behind so for the 10mins we stood in the dark we were essentially totally alone. As the tree canopy is quite dense, no light penetrates and after a while you become really disoriented because it is pitch black and there are no reference points to tell you which way is up or down. After turning off the torch and your eyes adjust, the fireflies appear out of nowhere and flash around and about in the trees. It was a magical and beautiful experience and I was quite sorry to see the person behind me tramping up the path when our allotted time was up.
I actually wanted to do the Amazon bit in Ecuador but couldn’t find a trip that combined both countries, so I began to focus my search in this area. While scrolling through various websites I came across a Creative Arts Project in Ecuador – in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, one of the Galapagos Islands. The project is to help young people in the area practise their talents and become more aware of the opportunities in the field of creative arts by helping out with activities involving art, dance, music and acting. Perfect. My main hobby is music and I regularly perform in and organise concerts, and was a music and drama teacher for a short stint in my early 20’s, so I felt this project was made for me. Volunteering sorted!