Thursday, 10 July 2008


Last night, during a conversation with an ecuadorian whose opinion on volunteers is very much worth noting, I explained (politely) a little of my disappointment, and noted that the volunteers are much more touristy here, and less interested in the conservation work.

We had been talking about how it was necessary to demonstrate to volunteers the objectives of the conservation work, be it through experiencing the attractions of the locale rather than just seeing brambles all the time, or through explaining the history, politics, economics and science behind the work. This way, we were agreeing, people would be more motivated to continue the often monotanous and physically trying work.

However, my companion noted, this is often very difficult to do, because the volunteers are often here soley for a cheap means to get on Galapagos, and have no interest in hearing about the technicalities of reserve work.

Most of them are not like you, I was told. They are tourists, but you are a member of the family. The family? The Jatun Sacha family. You know how it really is.

Yes, we were both a little less than sober when I was told this. Even so, apart from the fact that it is an enormous compliment, it also illustrates what had been missing earlier and what had made my last week on the San Cristobal station so much more enjoyable than earlier.

It was not that I wanted to connect more with the other volunteers and other gringos, though of course it is nice to get along, but that I want to speak (in Spanish) to the Ecuadorians and the people who have more of a personal attachment to the work and the environment.

This week I got to converse about the reasons we are here, with people who care, and that makes all the difference.

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