The books and courses from university learned me about the intriguing ways in which evolution works to form one of the most astonishing features of this world. Biodiversity. I also learned that this treasure is under threat and that it is hard to do anything about it by reading books and following courses. Shortly after my graduation, the decision to actively pursue a career in developmental aid and/or nature conservation came naturally.
Many projects of GVI seemed to offer the stepping stone I needed. The wildlife expedition project in Costa Rica, a land renowned for its natural beauty, could not have been a better setting. Although I prepared six months for this big adventure, I found far more than I had hoped for. A near perfect mix of research and developing logistical, maintenance and communicational skills literally ‘IN’ the amazing tropical rainforest ecosystem.
Do not misunderstand, I presume everyone that lived in Jalova has had a difficult moment or two. That was no different for me, but those quickly fade away when you wake up on the rhythm of the Caribbean sun and sea, with wildlife lurking behind every leaf to make it the best day of your life.
I saw a Jaguar predating on a turtle one of the volunteers might have measured just a few hours before, different species of monkeys settling their territory disputes and Great Green Macaws, one of the rarest species on earth. Maybe I was lucky, but if you join the wildlife expedition there is no doubt you will experience a tropical rainforest proving to be much more dynamic than anything the books on university ever described.
I got closer than ever to many of the problems threatening biodiversity during my time in Tortuguero, including ocean pollution and poaching, providing a wakeup call time and time again. It made me feel even more compelled to be part of the solution to these problems.
I must definitely praise the staff members from GVI here as well as the other volunteers, to provide me with the opportunities to learn how to do that. I was given the chance to be involved with physically challenging fieldwork for worldwide renowned partner organizations, educational programs in cooperation with local schools and community projects such as beach cleans.
I also learned things from the field base itself. Growing vegetables and fruit on base, little meat consumption, using solar energy, be mindful of water use. Very basic measures of how to become less part of the very same problems I am trying to fight, but imagine everyone doing these efforts.
In my spare time on base I was encouraged to find myself a companion and go look for some more natural beauty in the proximity of the base, for sure, while I was enrolled in the GVI project, my home was a paradise. Initiatives from other volunteers often provided a nice change of pace in base by preparing an interesting presentation or organizing a quiz or sports event.
My initiative with GVI provided me with new skills, insights and friends. It gave me the opportunity to help honorable people, communities and organizations who are concerned about biodiversity as much as I am. I could not be more grateful. Thank you.