Life at the Lodge: 13) Intruder

A welcome change to the schedule has seen us going on a lot more early-morning river trips. I much prefer the river to the savannah, it is just an all-round more gentle and calming experience, and unsurprisingly, there is far more wildlife to spot.

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Life at the Lodge: 12) Otters

Our British volunteer couple left, and the Lodge is less lively because of it. It was good having them around, as even with the influx of guests, rarely are they of a similar age to me or share similar interests. Even Anita has said that she will miss them, and all the friction from the first few days has been long forgotten. Hugs were shared and photos taken before they were bundled off to Yupukari.

Later in the week, I asked the staff to give feedback on the experience of having the volunteers living and working here alongside them. I don’t think anyone quite understood what they were supposed to do as the forms I got back all said pretty much the same thing, at times word-for-word what someone else had written. Most of the answers were variations on the example answers that I gave them to begin with. Maybe they saw the exercise as some kind of test. Either way, everyone was generally positive about the volunteers being here.

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The Facebook Masquerade

In recent months there has been quite a buzz about Facebook and why users should delete their accounts. Most of the articles I have read, and the arguments I have seen, follow a similar path of “Facebook can’t be trusted with our data”, but there are other reasons as to why perhaps the time has come for us to log out permanently.

If it isn’t data breaches that cause you to leave, it may be the flood of fake news infecting the site, or the fact that now our kids and/or parents also have accounts and we want something more generationally unique. It may even be because employers are now routinely using Facebook (and other social media sites) to research job applicants forcing us to change our names and hide certain photos and posts, ironically becoming more and more self-censoring on a site that prides itself on sharing. Whatever it may be, and as valid as these issues are, I think they are missing the point somewhat.

The question that these issues relate to is one of use; what should or should not be done with the tool that is Facebook. But I feel that the real question is actually more basic; what tool is Facebook?

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Venezuela’s Exodus

The northern Brazilian city of Boa Vista must have the cleanest car windscreens in the entire country. This is because on almost every street corner, at every junction, and around every roundabout, there is a Venezuelan, or four, offering their services. Their partners and children sheltering from the sun in some nearby shade.

Whether they were teachers, builders, doctors, carpenters, chefs, farmers, bankers, or shop assistants previously, they are now self-employed car washers and roadside salespeople. Cardboard signs serve the dual purpose of promoting their work and potential, whilst also providing some cover from the intense heat which accompanies their daily 12-hour shifts.

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Life at the Lodge: 11) Politics

Nestled in between our Kitchen Reports, I found half a dozen PPP membership forms which are awaiting completion. It seems Manny is on a recruitment drive at the Lodge, and though he is an enthusiastic supporter – “this is my party, the best party” – I am not entirely sure he knows what it all means.

The language of the PPP is incredibly dated and reads like something straight out of the USSR. A 2016 Group Membership booklet I found at the Lodge a few months back talks about the need for “comrade solidarity” and the defeat of the “three evils of capitalism, imperialism, and individualism”.

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