Third (and probably final) update from the guys in Manu – just 3 days to go…
Our first biogarden was completed in five days and we are all extremely proud of our hard work. In the end, we not only built a roof for the garden but also landscaped planting beds and weaved cane to make a fence to keep out the chickens. Even Jimmy said it was the best biogarden he has ever seen. As a reward we headed to the Manu Learning Centre to make the most of their hammocks and idyllic surrounding. Although we did spend a fair amount of time relaxing, the weekend was also filled with some exciting jungle treks.
In the evening we headed out for a night walk off the beaten track and down a small stream. Very quickly we realized that our wellies and waterproofs were of no use as the water level quickly started to rise.
We were scrambling over rocks and fallen trees, and at one point the water was up to our waists. One of the group members at the very front had no fear and practically dived into the water, leading the way for all of us. Along the way we saw many spiders, frogs and a caiman that Jimmy caught and stuffed in his pocket to take back to the research centre. (LOL) After this we were keen to continue exploring the forest further. We couldn’t resist the chance to stay overnight in the jungle. Carrying tents and marshmallows we set off on an hour hike to a nearby camping spot. After surviving the ants and moths, the heat, and the fear of being eaten by a puma in the night, we were up at 4 am ready to walk higher up the mountain to see the sunrise. Unfortunately the trees had grown considerably since last year so we couldn’t see anything! We did, however, enjoy the pinkish-orange glow of the sun coming through the trees and the sounds of wooly monkeys waking up.
When we returned from our camp we were straight back to work helping to keep the Manu Centre’s medicine garden organized. Soon after we were all in bed as we were exhausted from all the excitement of the last few days. The next day said goodbye to the Learning Centre for the last time and headed back to Salvacion to start biogarden numero dos.
After learning all the tricks of the trade from the first biogarden, we managed to organize ourselves so that everyone had a job and we were so efficient that we completed construction of the roof within two and a half days. With help from our Spanish lessons we also felt we were communicating better with the locals and everyone seemed happy with our work. Recently we have had very heavy rain which has delayed us a little but we are hoping to finish the beds and fence by Monday and enjoy our last few days in Salvacion before heading back to Cusco on Wednesday.