Before we knew it, it was time to leave! Yes. the two weeks went pretty fast, and overall it was a really good experience. By the time it got to the last two days though, we were ready to leave – we had experienced all the sections, and the dynamic had changed a little with departing and arriving volunteers.
We had one day of absolutely torrential rain, which was pretty unpleasant… (the animals still need to get fed though..). CC got the short straw, as she was on the birds section – and there is no way to stay out of the rain and/or do the section more quickly… 🙁 She got ABSOLUTELY soaked 🙁
Whereas I was on specials, where you can quickly run out and give them their food and then run back again, and you can skip all the cleaning – so I didn’t get that wet. That night we had an early dinner, and went to bed at 8.30pm! Yes, and we slept straight through until getting up time the next day (6.45am). Yes, we must have been working too hard! 🙂
There was one unfortunate day when one of the volunteers got bitten by a spider monkey :-(. The spider monkeys will sometimes come and sit on your knee if you sit down – and generally you have to wait for them to leave, as they can get upset if you try and walk off or push them off. In this case though, the monkey was startled by something else it seems, and so it was a bit unlucky to get bitten. Our simple solution to this issue, was to not sit down when there are monkeys around!
As if being bitten by a spider monkey was not unlucky enough, this poor volunteer got attacked by a dog later the same day, and got a very serious dog bite 🙁 🙁 It was the dog that we had been warned to be careful about, but I don’t think it was really made clear that it might actually attack you quite badly…. The wound was very bad, required stitches, and that was the end of any volunteering work for this volunteer. We were about 2 minutes walk behind her when it happened – it was horrible.
Unfortunately the dog is not a stray dog, it belongs to the owners of the restaurant near La Senda Verde, and so there is nothing that can be done. The owner just doesn’t care… and in Bolivia there is nobody to report the incident to that can or will do anything. (Apparently this was not the first time that the dog had bitten somebody…)
Volunteers took to walking past in groups and carrying big sticks (the dog lives between La Senda Verde and the volunteer accommodation, so there is no way to avoid walking past at least twice a day) – but the dog was not seen much after the incident – I have a feeling the owner was keeping the dog indoors – probably for the dog’s safety more than anything else…
We managed to escape La Senda Verde without any animal-related injuries. CC got bitten by a bird, but it only left a red mark, and I escaped scot-free! 🙂 Non-animal injuries were another matter…. I hit my head several times on various doors giving me a few cuts to the head (these were hard to heal, as the monkeys always tried to pick the scabs off….) and also managed to cut my hand a lot on various doors, locks, tools etc etc – yes I am clumsy…. CC also managed a couple of cuts of her own (a door lock, and a knife…)
We found out later that the capuchin monkeys went a bit wild after we left – due to a couple of them being on heat – and a couple of volunteers had been attacked – one with quite bad injuries to their ears 🙁 So I felt quite lucky to have escaped totally unscathed.
Not much else of note happened, except that after a night out in Yolosa, apparently some people who were living on the main site (not in the volunteer accommodation) came back and made quite a disturbance. This led to a rather long and rambling speech being given by the owner about ‘partying’ too much, respect for the animals, food in Yolosa being dodgy, staying out late, drinking too much, not being able to work properly the next day etc etc. ‘ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE’ (this part made CC and I chuckle – we were obviously in the clear despite being out that night… 🙂 )
The upshot was, that there would be a ‘curfew’ and the gates to La Senda Verde and also to the Volunteer Accommodation would be locked at 11pm. Yes, well, fair enough to lock the animal sanctuary, there are sleeping animals there – but the volunteer accommodation?! We wondered how it would be acheived, seeing as the fence was full of holes, and the gate was locked using a bicycle combination lock…. 🙂 Of course, they were just words – it’s not actually possible to lock the volunteer accommodation area even if you want to…
ANYWAY, all in all, despite a few annoyances it was a really great and interesting experience. 🙂
We met some very nice people when we there, including some Ecuadorians who offered to show us around Quito when we finally get there! 🙂
So, all that remained was for us to walk out over the bridge, and out into the real world again…. firstly a bus to Coroico, and then from there, a bus back up to La Paz.
This meant one final walk to Yolosa to get the bus…