Hello, at the end of January 2014, and welcome to the changing seasons. Thunderstorms with amazing, continuous flashes of lightning – with bolts from the stars to the trees, claps of thunder like you would scarcely believe (and with little warning at times!) and rain that has a person soaked in seconds – not that that stops some youngsters continuing to play out. The heat at times is just as high as ever, and when the sun is out, the strong sunlight is as likely to keep you under shelter as the rain!
Sadly, we have lost most of our covered storage and washing-up area near the work site due to storms, although fortunately there is another for the people working there, and to keep the cement dry. The steps to the ‘bodega’ (our small sleeping/cooking/storage area) have fallen off and have been replaced by a stairway of sandbags which serves the purpose for just now.
The water supply from the dam is now connected and working which means that fresh water reaches the future clinic/quarantine and the shower/washing tap and is sand free (our previous supply always seemed to have sand washed into it from the stream!) The land around the dam construction area has been cleaned and cleared and replanted and is already beginning to look as if the dam has been there for ages. It is not quite invisible, although it blends in well with the jungle environment.
With the change of season there has been a spate of birds breeding in the area. There are Many-banded Aracaris (similar to a Toucan) sitting on a nest built in a hole in an old, dead palm (previously a woodpecker’s nesting site) and all you can usually see is a very large beak sticking out; and oropendolos are nest building and sitting, close by. Their nests are like huge net baskets hung from trees.
Tamarin Monkeys have been seen on the land again – a small group recently have visited, checking the area out for wild seeds and fruit to eat. This is a good sign that we have not scared the wildlife away with the construction work going on around.
Work continues on the building of the quarantine/clinic – the foundations are complete, the path around the building finished and the columns are in place that will hold the cement roof. The work has been very expensive due to our remote location and the cost of materials has almost tripled due to the distance from the road that the building is situated and the cost of transport by lorry, people and mules. We still hope to have enough to complete the building with doors and windows.
It is looking great and we are very happy with skills and dedication of the two main workers, Miguel and Abelino, and Glen has been coordinating most of the construction work and assisting with – which has been really grand! The building will consist of two rooms (one for the quarantine, one for the clinic) of 4.5 metres by 5.00 metres with an internal access corridor of 2.00 by 5.00 metres which will also double as an ‘office’/reception area. In the first instance, we will be
using this building for accommodation for ourselves and visitors/researchers/volunteers until we have more space available. Currently, the framework is being put in place to hold the roof as it is being constructed and we hope to find a team of people who will help us mix the concrete and help put it in place within the next week or so. Watch this space…