01.07.2010 - 15.08.2010 27 °C
While our stay in Santa Cruz, we made two short escapes to Samaipata, a lovely village perched on a hill with beautiful views to Amboró Park.
The first time we went to Samaipata we went on a trekk in the park. Directly when you enter the park you really feel like you are in the jungle: very dense vegetation, lianas and the biggest fern trees in the World (these are not really trees in other countries but plants). It is really amazing and worth to pay a guide to explain how the trees grow here and resist even when they fall out: they can be re born again and continue living for many years. . .
The Zoo in Samaipata was also worth a visit. It wasn’t really like a “normal” zoo like everyone knows, but an animal care center where animals that have been abandoned or abused are rescued to be fed and educated to give then a decent life. There were many monkeys who would crawl up your neck and rest peacefully while you would experiment the infernal heat and sweat on your body. We spent only a few hours with them but we left with the best feeling ever!
Meanwhile, lots of things happened in Santa Cruz. Two Swedish guys, Peter and Tobias, who worked voluntarily in Buena Vista for “Ingenieros sin Fronteras”, came to Luz del Mundo and brought many things for the kids: school materials, jockey equipment and, best present, football shoes for all the kids. They went crazy: they love playing football but they’ve always have to play with flip flops or even bare food…so it was a good surprise for them…
We also visited Buena Vista, the village where the Swedes where doing the project. The village is cool, very authentic; practically untouched by tourism but this also has a disadvantage such as making every place very inaccessible and rather more expensive than Samaipata. Anyways, we managed to make a nice trek down the Curichicuajo River and swim in the warm and doubtable clean water. In any case, the best in Bella Vista might be its people: the locals are warm, welcoming and very helpful with everything…
Our second visit to Samaipata was to visit El Fuerte, an Inca settlement. After bargaining the taxi drive and on the way to El Fuerte, the taxi driver stopped to pick up a guy who was making his walk there too. He was the funniest Swiss guy. We visited the place together: with no guide who could illuminate us with some history, all the suppositions were made. We decided to team up with him and his friend to form a separet tour with a independent guide working a bit with our hostel. The tour was actually not that great in the end…basically he was a bit reluctent to walk a lot (something that could be seen physically too) so we mainly drove around in car stoping at viewpoints. We decided that we wanted to do some real hiking so they dropped us off in the volcano area in between Samaipata and Santa Cruz and we then did our own great hike to Bermejo. So much better to hike without guide anyway.
Our time with the kids were starting to run out. We had finally decided on a final date, 15th of August, we woud be leaving the kids. So much we wanted to do before we leave.. Laura carried on her weekly (and sometimos twice weekly) dance class. In addition to her hiphop coreagraphy to a terrible Black Eye Peas song, she started to do the Waka Waka Shakira song. I joined in to much to the kids amusement.
We also carried on with the other classes as good as we could. Too be honest its quite difficult to keep coming up with ideas…e.g. for the internacional culture class we did every place I´ve lived in for any longer time. Also geography games(which were probable worked the best, the kids learned so much quickly) was difficult to come up with ideas for.
Besides classes, we were just trying to hug and kiss the kids as much as posible during the time we have left with them. By now we have gotten to know most of them quite well and know their personalities etc. On a daily routine I would for example throw and spin Bella, Brittney and Francine around. Laura would always chase down some of the tougher older boys like Ruben and Alvaro and kiss them.
In addition the the routine we had quite a few parties. First of all we had a point system, so that when they behaved well we gave points and when bad we took away points, when they got 25 we threw a party (worked really well). However in addition everytime any volunteer left there was a leaving party, we had Henrik´s Birthday party and we even broght in something when Spain won the worldcup. So there was a lot of cakes. Funny was that once a party was announced double the amount of kids would turn up. It was like they had been going on the streets screaming to everyone to come join… Let me tell you a party with 60 kids who are not used to get cakes or any treats can get quite crazy.
In terms of volunteers, a guy called David joined, but agreed that after him missing coming 4-5 times that he was more interested about using the voluneteer thing to pick up girls than anything else. Later on a spanish girl came too…she was really nice, but unfortunatly she had to leave as her granny got sick. Finally two really nice and more serious volunteer girls came, Cara and (¿???) from Australia. At last we felt ok leaving Luz Del Mundo.
Finally our last day had come…we were off course throwing a huge party. The kids were so cute…so many of the gave us drawings and letters (many times some combo). Off course they see volunteers come and go, but I still think that a lot of the kids really would miss us. We know that we would miss them a lot, but our adventure had to go on so after a day of singing, laughing together, kissing, hugging, we finally left Luz Del Mundo, but we will always remember the kids and carry a small part with us.