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.
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.
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”.
Owing to some ill-health for both of our guests, all activities were cancelled giving some of the staff a more laid-back working day. But with an enthusiasm they later came to regret, our two resident voluntourists (Steve and Farinoz) headed up to our outstation, Makeidon, with Manny to help on the project to build a new coral.
Unfortunately, Cassie had to return to Georgetown and to her work at the university, leaving me to prepare for the solitude of the Lodge once again. The last week had been a bit of a holiday and I was having to force myself to get back into the system of pre-dawn wake ups.