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South America: Monkeys, Frogs, Turtles Oh My!

This week for our journey, we came to a quaint little city called Puyo and just on the outskirts of it is a little place called Paseo de los Monos. Paseo de los monos is a refugee camp for rescued animals (mainly monkeys) but there are other animals such as tortoises, parrots, pecardis (hogs with a white collar around their neck), a margay, a kinkachu, coati (supposely a mix between a fox and a bear but it’s more like a mix of a racoon and an anteater) and an oriente (giant like hamster). While at Los Monos, there was the good times and the bad times and as a team we prevailed with each hardship.

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Every morning from 8:30-9:30am, 4-5 people helped the workers prepared the food for the animals. We chopped fruits ranging from pineapples to papaya, vegetables. How many times can you tell people that you helped feed cappuccino monkeys, spider monkeys, wooly monkeys etc, and tell the story of how Willy, a wooly monkey ate a hole into my shirt?!? We also helped build tunnels so that the monkeys that didn’t have a lot of space to move around, did have the space to move around. And at the end of each day, mainly the guys, went into the river for a refreshing dip to cool off a day’s hard work.

With that being said there were some bad parts that we as a group couldn’t overlook. The standard of living was not what we were used to and felt quite rustic. There were bugs, and there were nights when the water was shut off. Some of us got sick while we were here, which made us miss the comforts of home even more. Being at Los Monos made us realized how much we took things back at home for granted; clean house, cooked food, the amount of work we did, Internet connection and free wifi.

There’s a quote by Clifton Fadiman that goes like this “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” Yes it was a hard week, yes we were frustrated at the place, at each other, yes true colors were shown, yes we were trying and guess what – we did not give up. Through this experience we learned a lot about each other, to forgive each other, to be kind with each other and by not letting Los Monos drag us down, it strengthened our bonds as a team.

The week at Los Monos is already gone and behind us and we are at our next destination, Arajuno Lodge, near Tena. Continue to wish us well while we are in Arajuno!