Location: Amazon Rainforest
It all started with a 25-minute flight from Quito to Coca where we met Hector, the founder of the organization we worked with in the Amazon – Sumak Allpa. We were taken from the airport to Yarina Eco-lodge, our amazing lodge where the food was extremely delicious and the people were extremely nice. Our only mode of transport was the canoes, so going everywhere consisted of at least one-hour canoe rides. In the Amazon, we did a lot of community service. We worked removing lilies from the Limoncocha lagoon since they are an invasive species, which damage the ecosystem. In spite of all the spiders, we had fun in the sun jamming to some music. We also got to work on Monkey Island, the Sumak Allpa headquarters. There we helped rebuild a bridge and weave 120 palm leaves, which would then be used as roofs for local homes. Throughout the Amazon, we also visited a local school in which we played with the little kids and gave them some presents. We had a blast playing soccer, drawing with chalk, and engaging conversations with the kids. After an amazing and fulfilling time with the children, we went on a “toxic tour” of the Amazon in which we saw the effects of the oil companies in the jungle. Another activity we did was a hike through Yasuni National Park. It was an amazing 3-hour hike in which we could experience the biodiversity of the Amazon. (Even try some lemon-flavored ants). Visiting the Amazon, speaking with the locals and doing service work were life-changing experiences. We had a blast despite the hot and humid weather!!