Today was our final full day in Peru since tomorrow we go to the airport.
We started our day early at 5:15AM so that we could head up to the canopy and search again for the elusive sunrise. Even though there was too much cloud cover (clouds- 2, teachers – 0), we still were able to see a multitude of birds and insects species. Rebecca noted that the clouds were a reminder that the forest is a living organism, breathing (or transpiring) like us.
Next, we had breakfast and then headed to Ceiba Tops for our final night of lodging in the Amazon. There we took a short hike to see the tree of the same name – the ceiba. It was awe-inspiring to stand at the base of such a gigantic 200-year-old tree. The entire tree was an ecosystem unto itself with bromeliads, frogs and insects, birds, and vines living within and on it. It struck each of us how much more majestic our forests would be – con árboles gigantes – if we protected them as carefully as the Amazonians do.
After lunch we headed to the famous Isla de Los Monos (monkey island) by boat. It is a refuge for monkeys that have been abandoned or injured or rescued from the pet or meat trade. We don’t know who had more fun – us or the monkeys!
Just as the skies let loose again with a downpour, we settled in for an amazing presentation by Alberto about CONAPAC and the incredible work they are doing in local communities. This organization partners with communities of native people to provide agricultural, educational, and sanitation (water and sewer) services. All of the Peruvian teachers that have been with us all week are working with CONAPAC currently. One of them shared with us how excited the students are when they receive their yearly school supplies.
Finally, after dinner, we wrapped up our evening with a cultural dance presentation (and later some singing and dancing of our own!).