Thursday, February 17, 2011

Settling into life in the village and the project….

During the work placement part of my 6 month internship with GVI in Costa Rica, we have found ourselves lucky enough to be living in this tropical paradise, for 10 weeks, as part of a friendly community. While we are here working with Pablo and his colleagues we will be living with a local family. Our host family have been so welcoming, if a bit shy, and helped to make what could have been a tough transition easy. Our Spanish is quickly improving at the same time as providing great entertainment to the locals. Our clumsy attempts to put sentences together have generated lots of laughs.
Over the weeks we have spent here we have been integrated more and more into the community just south of Drake bay on the w-coast of Costa Rica. We have been invited to various events for example: A baby shower for a young expecting couple, birthday parties, for meals at various people’s houses and a number of bonfires on the beach. All of which have left us feeling at home here and dreading leaving at the end of our internship
The project that we will be working on for these next week’s involves looking at the reproductive success of female nutmeg trees in relation to quantity and proximity of male nutmeg trees. Also another key part of our research looks at the interactions between fruiting species and the various animals that disperse the seeds. Our day’s work generally involves monster hikes up and down steep hills battling through dense vegetation to reach the trees to count their flowers.
We have a spent two weeks working with a group of volunteers from Australia who are helping us with the mammoth task of counting all of these flowers! Although feeling a bit out number by all these Aussies we had a great week working on the trails, counting flowers and losing terribly at football to the locals. By the end of just two weeks between all of us we had counted over 92,000 flowers from different trees across the area!

This is a photo of me and Alana with the group of ISV volunteers and Juan (one of the staff) preparing for the big volunteers vs locals football match.