The Green Path

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The night sky out here in the valley is so bright and rivals the beauty and pureness of the night sky in Antarctica.

When the clouds are not blocking our view I could just look up and stare for hours at the milky way, trying to locate the southern cross and wishing I knew how to read the stars.

After the chaos that it can feel like to work with the monkeys all day the stillness of the night at La Sende Verde is a welcomed relief.

The animals are sleeping and the quiet overtakes the normal shrieking, calling, rustling and crashing of the birds and monkeys making their way through the park.

I was working back on birds the last two days showing a new volunteer how to clean, feed and create enrichment for them and I missed the monkeys.

As much as you need to be on guard because they can be unpredictable I miss the baby monkeys running up my leg and jumping across my shoulders.

We have twelve volunteers here currently and therefore the birds have been so well looked after the last week that there was very little left to do in terms of improving their cages so I was excited to be asked if I want to work on the bear care program.

There are two Andean Spectacle Bears that were rescued from captivity and the black market here that need to be looked after by two long term volunteers.

I had initially been interested in the program to work along side the bears as I thought it would be great to work along side one group of animals for the length of my stay, but at the time there was already two volunteers working with the bears.

A week ago one of the volunteers left and now they were searching for the second volunteer for the program.

I was excited to be asked to work with the bears with Bethany the other bear volunteer and to learn more about bears as they seem like such mythical creatures from folklore to an Australian.

The mosquitos are not the main concern here, it is the sand flies that bite ferociously and with a vengene.

Some people are covered in bites, others not so much.

For me it is my neck, hands and face that have been attacked and although it is getting less severe each day I am still a target of their attack.

My second day on monkeys I tucked me pants into my socks and a few of the baby monkeys kept running up and pulling my socks down.

When I got back to the volunteer dormitory and was getting changed out of my dirty work clothes I looked down at my legs.

Right where my socks were was covered in big red bites.

In particular my right leg had a culmination of bites so large it was half the size of an Australian five dollar note.

My shins have been aching from the bites and I feel like I have run into a metal pole.

Hopefully they calm down in a few days and stop aching and itching as they are also really unsightly so I cant wear anything except pants during the night.

Although there is a bug issue, that slowly is getting better the longer I stay here, this place really is La Sende Verde, the green path of paradise!

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