Location: Amazon Rainforest

This morning our group awoke early in the Amazon to prepare for an early breakfast before starting our third day of exploration here. After getting suited up in our jungle attire (tall rain boots, long pants, and rain jacket) as well as spraying every inch of our bodies in bug spray, we sat down to a delicious breakfast. We listened to the bird calls, and the other wildlife sounds erupting from the jungle before sunrise as we were served delicious, mouth-watering, juicy slices of watermelon. After devouring our fresh fruit, we were served a breakfast pastry wrapped in leaves from the jungle that tasted identical to a vanilla cake. Finally, we were given a warm plate of eggs cooked to our preference as we watched the sunrise over the tall trees of the Amazon.

After finishing our breakfast, the group walked down to the dock ready to board the boat to transport us to the Limoncocha Biological Reserve about an hour away. We enjoyed astonishing views yet again early this morning of the trees and listened to the jungle awaken. After docking at the Reserve, we walked down to their lagoon and boarded a smaller canoe to tour around their waters and see more wildlife lurking in the water or the trees. During our boat ride we saw thousands of birds all shapes in sizes (however, the most common were the large birds referred to like the stinky turkeys), six different species of monkeys including red howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, pygmy marmosets, and a few others similar. We concluded by seeing a majestic sloth slowly move its way down a tree trunk.

After our wildlife excursion on the canoe, we docked and returned to work splitting up into two groups. One group ventured into the jungle in search of harvesting plants to put in our newly built tree nursery we created the day prior. My group stayed behind, and we dug up fresh dirt and mixed it with other nutrients to make the best mixture. We bagged the soil into small, black bags with the help of our group and ten local kids walking home. After finishing our bagging of the soil, some of the children stayed as we played tag and compared the worms we found in the soil.  From there we moved inside to eat an awesome packed lunch for us of yummy chicken, broccoli and fried yucca. We also had a surprise visitor join us from her tree, a local parrot came down and enjoyed eating our leftover rice and crackers.

After wrapping up lunch, we continued our plant project and built plant beds and began to place the trees in the bags of soil and then into the plant bed boxes.

Michelle and I found tons of worms wiggling through the fresh dirt that we stuffed in our plant bags or threw at each other and Cristina. After a few hours of this, we piled back up in the back of a pickup truck and drove back to the dock. From there, we boarded our boat back to the lodge and cleaned up before dinner. Our three-course dinner consisted of bean soup, fried fish, rice, skinned tomatoes and a fresh bowl of tree tomatoes for dessert. After our meal and before heading to bed, our group sat in a circle and had a forum where we discussed our thoughts on the Amazon Rainforest and the trip as a whole as well as doing some self-exploration. Our guides asked us to journal about our thoughts on perspective. Then they asked us to share three words that describe us and say why. This conversation was insightful and eye-opening for all of us.

Overall, the day was fabulous as we did great service work and bonded closer as a group and had a ton of fun. We look forward to continuing our journey and plant nursery project tomorrow!