Internet access is playing hard to get today. Work has been intense but gratifying, but the heat is just melting me, and all the time I feel it turning me into cream cheese... oh and sorry 'bout the spelling!
My experience building this Ecoclub, the kids called it "drops of life" in spanish, has been fascinating. Sunday morning, we met the children at 8am bu the river and set off to find a nice trail for them to take their classmates on a nature walk. They're hosting a culture festival next month and want to incorporate an environmental awareness campaign. i didn't really know what to expect, but was really happy they invited us to come along!
The kids just walk for the fun of it. They get lost, they carry their machetes with them just in case the forest has gotten too thick for us to walk through easily, or just so they can find a new route to a new place for them to jump into the river. Even though I kept shouting at them to be careful and not chop each other's heads off, their movements with these not so little "swords" are so natural, an extension to their strong arms. Still, growing older and more boring by the second, I'm completely paranoid, like any good ol' grown-up would.
We walk for about 2 hours through huge fields full of beautiful white cebu cattle. There are so many birds and trees i've never seen before. The kids barely notice them, unaware of all the treasures they have and us city people have lost. They keep warning me about anacondas hiding in the swamps, expecting to scare me or see if i turn back. Only I would love to see one in the wild, and they don't really understand why. To them, the poisonous rays at the bottom of the river, or the caimans resting in the shade, are just annoying animals they have to mind when they go for a swim. To me, they are awesome.
But we don´t see any of these this time, and my inexperienced guides seem a bit relieved. instead we are greeted bu howling monkeys that sound like a storm is coming. once again, the crowd around me isn't surprised. Its funny how wildlife in Colombia, even though exotic and almost unknown to everyone, is so unattractive. But if told these kids i had actually seen lions and zebras and elephants, they would love to hear about it. It makes me sad, and I try to talk to them about it, but it's close to noon and the heat is just impossible, so a dive into the river seems so much more important than what i'm trying to say to them.
The day ends with an invitation to dinner to Karen Yiseth's home. Her mother, just 5 years older than me, is cooking mazamorra especially for us. I feel completely flattered because I understand what this invitation means to her, the chance to pay back what she feels she owes us, because of everything Karen has told her about us. it's a mixture of amiration and gratitude, they feel we have paid more attention to them than anyone else and that's all they ever really wanted; to feel important. I think this is what i love most about this job, how much I can trascend into these poeple's lives by just listening and sharing a meal with them.