So I have finally made it to Cusco without disasters of any kind (which I am very grateful for). My flight from Gatwick to Lima was long and tiring as so many journeys are, especially when you are made to watch all the latest films in a record time, I achieved 4, which I count as very good in a 12 hour flight. Who can complain when you get free food throughout your journey and can sit and watch endless amounts of films and pig out on free snacks? My second flight however was not so comfortable, I literally thought the plane was going to fall apart, luckily it was all good, with major brownie points going to the captain who manage to avoid the massive hills and looming city, that I assumed we would hit. After a rather rickety landing, I was finally at my destination of Cusco… which has been home for the last two days.
Meeting other volunteers and the familiar faces of staff members reassured me that this was what I have wanted to do for my placement, I would say since forever but actually its been more like just over a year when I last visited. I have always liked revisiting place mainly due to the fact that I know my way around and have some kind of a clue on how things going to play out, unlike the volunteers who I have met who aren’t so aware. After two days of getting to know everyone and acclimatizing to the area all the new volunteers seem to be getting their heads around the next stage of the trip, which is to go down into the cloud forest. Our decent will take two days then we finally arrive at the MLC basecamp for the next 6 months, well for me at least. Other volunteers stay for either a month or just 2 short weeks having a whistle-stop tour of jungle life. I have found leaving the UK and coming back out very daunting, as an intern I have a lot more responsibility, as well as having the concern of ruining my last experience I had when I was here as a volunteer. However, being in Cusco and finding my bearings already has settled me. Also I feel I have been useful in terms of me answering other people questions of whats going to happen when and how. It has made me appreciate how much I know about Cusco as well as facts about life at the MLC.
Tomorrow we start our journey down into the cloud forests, stopping off at a few villages that specialise in different local delicacies, such as bread. Weird I know, however this bread is very delicious and its incredible to think that one whole village just makes bread, of all types. They vary between having animal fat or vegetable fat in, so veggies have to watch out! The bread however is very dense almost cake like, but tastes so good. Other villages specialise in guinea-pig – and not the selling of guinea-pigs either, more the eating side. But before you thing OMG cruel, these guinea-pigs are generally raised to be eaten, and therefore have a different look and shape to our cute little pets we have at home. After visiting these towns we will spend the rest of the day driving through cloud forest and down to the Madre de Dios river, where we will end up at the MLC which is in the buffer zone of the Manu national park.
While out in the jungle I am also raising money for my mum charity FCRS, in order to help provide solar lights to a school out in Conakry. I have done other blogs about this matter, but I’m hopefully going to be helping people understand a little more about how important both the rainforest is and the increasing necessity of solar lights are to children in Conakry, alongside the importance of school and education. The charity will provide a sustainable future to these kids, as well as my role which is to bring the research and knowledge of the rainforest to people around the world through the use of my blog. I am aiming to be writing a blog most weeks on what I have been up to and the amount of money I have raised. And hopefuly some cool footage off my camera trap, so what this space, lots of creature out there to capture on camera, and to show to you guys.