More Merazonia Projects and A Bit of Village Life in Shell — A Travel Tale

This week, we continued with some more Merazonia projects. Jen and I built some drawers to put beneath the future volunteers’ beds. I measured, sawed, planed, and sanded the wood, nailed it all together to make a box, screwed some wheels into the bottom, and voilà! Drawers!

One of the views from the volunteer house at Merazonia shows a forested mountain rising behind the jungle.
View from the volunteer house at Merazonia

I also hauled rocks in a neat contraption we put on Monty, our workhorse: two boxes strapped to his sides that have inversed lids on the bottom which release on a slant with ropes (so that they fall away from Monty’s and our feet).

It was a long day, walking Monty up and down (literally) the rocky, muddy, slippery path from the river to the aviary. We used the rocks to lay over the part of the aviary’s floor that will be cemented (I’ve been informed that cement doesn’t adhere to mud; everything starts with stones and sand).

Most Merazonia projects are accomplished with the help of Monty the workhorse.

It’s really been very fulfilling working here on these Merazonia projects. I see our progress and it really makes me feel like I’m doing something important. I can’t wait to come back here and work with the animals we’re building all this for!

A friend I’ve made in the area, Victor, owns Coffeenet in Shell and sings in a reggae group. He invited me along to watch a small concert he gave at a local school. Pretty cool! He had some break-dancers performing with him and the show was fun!

So everything’s closed this weekend for the national elections on Sunday. I don’t know much about the political situation here, except for something a friend in Quito had mentioned a few weeks ago. Apparently, there’s been talk of forming a union between Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and I think Chile and Venezuela. Something akin to the European Union, to strengthen the economy and stabilize politics. It won’t happen for a few years yet, if it does, and I have no idea if it’s even part of party platforms in these elections.

Some posters I saw advocated for a new, strong, and just constitution. In Quito, another friend had told me that the Ecuadorian constitution is easily breakable, which contributes to the inability of the country’s leaders to maintain power for more than a year or two.