Many thanks to Josh (aka “Bug Man”) for this epic update from the depths of the Bolivian jungle…
To summarise what has happpened to the group it would have to be:
– A 20+ hour flight
– Altitude sickness and machetes in La Paz
– A 23 hour coach ride on Death Road
– Back breaking labour in Jacj cuisi
On paper it sounds terrible but I can honestly say its been the best experience of my life so far!
We arrived in Laz Paz pretty early in the morning. No one went to bed, even though we were knackered because we were much too excited to be getting breakfast at the hostel! (which turned out to be awesome pancakes). The next day in La Paz we went around the shops and markets getting building supplies to take with us to Jacj Cuisi, including machetes for each of us which have now been named appropriately (gandalf, ol´ Smokey, tarantino etc). After lunch we loaded up the coach to start the long journey down death road to rurrenabaque. Suffice to say that this road did not get its name lightly! the first part of the road was tarmac but it was still liteered with crosses sround the steep bends. Later on the road turned completely to dirt track , alot of it being single lane. Sometimes it felt like the bus had to leave the road just to get round a corner. luckily we survived the journey and arrived safely in Rurrenabaque.
We then bought some last minute supplies and made our way to Jacj Cuisi.
We arrived quite late at the park so there was no time for work so we sorted our equipment and sat down to some much needed food. The next day we started work which mainly consisted of moving materials and equipment up to Sonko´s enclosure. The work was absolutely knackering and back breaking but by the end we were all pros. In the 2 weeks we were at Jacj Cuisi we managed to completely redo Sonkos management and also get loads of work on cementing and making the foundations for the monkey enclosure. We stayed on schdule pretty well which ment we got to finish earlier some days and get a volleyball court set up and play against the other volunteers. We also got to do a great jungle trek which was easier for some then for others!
One of the nights we also went to the local town of Santa Ana and played some footy with the locals. After we had some drinks and played a deadly game of ´I have never´ where we learnt a little too much about Aaron! All in all it was a great night we wont forget, especially for Chrissy , joe and Shannon! (who had her own surprise in the morning). Even though the work was so hard in Jacj Cuisi we were still sad to leave and we all left with a great sense of achievement we´ll never forget!!
To celebrate our time at the park we all had a slap up meal in Rurrenabaque and a few drinks, although the night didnt end too well for one team member (who will remain anonymous for their protection) who got rather drunk on one “virgin” strawberry daiquiri. After helping said person with their hangover the next day, we made our way to the Pampas for a 3 day tour. The tour didnt go quite to plan when the weather took a turn for the worst and went really cold but we still saw our fair share of wildlife including river dolphins and caimans.
Our next stop is now Ambue Ari where we´ll get to look after our own animal, at least it will be once the road blocks are lifted!!