VOLONTARY WORK  
  Mariana Guerra

My name is Mariana Guerra Lara, I am from Argentina and I am 24 years old. I am studying environmental sciences at the “Universidad de Buenos Aires” and I worked as a volunteer at the Reserva Natural Palmarí , from January 6th to February 17th., 2.016
As I love nature, I did not only learn about wildlife, but also about the people who live in the jungle. If you are able to open your mind and soul you will experience a constant exchange of cultural impressions and sensations. It does not matter where you come from, you will enjoy this amazing place. Because of this, it is important to stay as long as possible; I think that the one and a half month I stayed was enough to fall in love with the Reserva Natural Palmarí and now I know that I want to go back some day in the future.
During my stay I do not remember anything I did not like. The activity I enjoyed most was kayaking: the feeling of paddling in the middle of a river in the Amazon, swimming in it and watching a variety of animals, especially the grey and pink dolphins, is a unique experience. The fact, that it is not a zoo and that you are watching all things in their natural habitat makes it even more special. I really enjoyed all my days when tourists where in the nature reserve, further, I was always doing something most of the time, be it walking, kayaking or just helping in the kitchen. During my free days, when there weren't any visiting tourist, it was great to just relax, to play cards, or as in my case being an argentinian drinking "Mate" and during the afternoons I liked to go to the neighbouring  community, play with the children or watch them playing football.
About my work as a volunteer, further then practicing my english and learning portuguese, I met a lot of different people willing to learn, having fun and sharing special moments, which it is why it is so important to be patient and open minded.

Today I really miss the peace, the incredible nature and the people: the guides and the staff of the Reserva Natural Palmari, as well as the people from the neighbouring communities, because they made me feel at home. Due to all of this I really recommend being a volunteer at the Reserva Natural Palmarí.


  Nicolas Bozdech

The time I spend at the Reserva Natural Palmari was definitely the best decision I could have taken in respect to picking my first destination for my trip to my country of origin, Colombia. The task of helping during breakfast, lunch and supper was not even to be considered as work by me, as I had already worked in the catering sector prior to travelling to Colombia. Not to mention, that the food was very, very delicious and the personnel from the kitchen, including all the other from the general team all the way up to the main administrator of the visitors centre always were very friendly to me, thus it was nice for me to work, assist and support them. A special experience was climbing to 48 meters above the ground and spending the night in the canopy of a tree, enjoying relaxed the sun-set and sun-rise if the climate and weather allowed it. Another undeletable moment was tracking and observing at close distance a bunch of otters. This opportunity was given to me in the vicinity of the Benjamin Constant village, where the Reserva Natural Palmari in a joint effort with the non-governmental organization Instituto de Desenvolvimento Socioambiental do Vale do Javari manages a project dealing with the study, monitoring and protection of these animals, plus in the near future adding to the project rehabilitation and release of otters seized from illegal trade and captivity as well as individuals found neglected or in bad state. As it is not easy to spot and observe wildlife in the jungle, I was able to see aside the otters also monkeys, bats, catfish, dolphins, piranhas, parrots and toucans as well as a lot of other birds; it remains impressive, that most of the animals produce sounds, songs and other noises which you would never associate with the one´s producing them, but you would think that they are of different origin or related to other animals. I herewith wish to thank the agency “Grupo Travesias SAS”, the destination “Reserva Natural Palmari” and the non-governmental organization Instituto de Desenvolvimento Socioambiental do Vale do Javari for giving me the chance to undertake this internship, also for the help, assistance, friendship and cooperation received from the very kind work-team of the visitors centre, specially Jaime, Mires, Joel, Pinduca, Cunha and Ilke, as well as all others that through the rotational work personnel process served, guided, drove and assisted the various visitors; not to forget my two fellow internship mates that volunteered together with me in the Reserva Natural Palmari, Maria José Posse and Nicolás Schuetze. Regarding the activities in the canopy of the forests I want to thank Franciney “Manéu” very much, who heads, offers, operates and organizes these activities on behalf of the SelvAventura out-sourced firm. In advance I promise that I will return to the Reserva Natural Palmari also to confirm changes in respect to my initial stay, further to live the internship in presence of guests visiting during a peak season at the beginning of the year. Clearly I state to other people interested in an internship: It is an experience I definitely recommend, further it values and deserves the effort.



  Nicolas Schuetze

My name is Nicolas Schuetze Lagos, I am 18 years old and as a volunteer at the visitor centre of the Reserva Natural Palmari I had the chance to experience the amazon rainforest in the best way there is. With the experience of the guides and the equipment available at the visitors centre, every day was an adventure: watching dolphins from a kayak, hiking through the jungle, climbing 50 meters from the ground and watching the jungle from above are experiences I will never forget, all in the company of groups of visitors, which I served as a translating assistant in respect to the appointed local guide. Meeting new people was one of the best parts of the experience: it was a different experience with each group of visitors but all of the work was made easy with the help of the staff of the visitors centre. The time I spent at the Reserva Natural Palmari gave me the opportunity to bond with the staff, the people from the neighbouring communities and to feel closer to all of them every next day. My tasks as a volunteer where simple: I helped as a translator for the tourists and helped in the kitchen when it was meal’s time. The time I spent in the Reserva Natural Palmari was a time of learning, an opportunity to grow as a person and to have fun while doing all described before - it is without doubt an experience I would repeat - I thank the Grupo Travesías agency as well as the Reserva Natural Palmari for this opportunity and the the staff at the visitors centre for making my stay very comfortable and helping me to fit in smoothly.



  Carolina Rodríguez

My name is Carolina Rodriguez and I am 22 years young. I was as a volunteer for 6 weeks in the Reserva Natural Palmari and I dare to say, that it was an experience which left a huge positive impact in me. As a volunteer I joined visiting tourists during their activities, the foreigners amongst them I assisted as a translator between the guides and staff of the visitors centre, I helped in serving food to the tables and was always ready to help as to any needed task or job. In my free time I liked very much to spend time with the people of the neighbouring communities, where my biggest joy was sharing their company while learning the importance of searating me from material things. During the undertaking of all these activities I grew as a person while acting in a completely different surrounding then the one I live in my normal day-to-day life: to wake up to the singing of birds filled me with live day by day, living with the nature made me gain more knowledge about the caring for the environment whilst being in the company of marvelous people; the whole team of the Reserva Natural Palmari made me feel as being in family and helped me to act with ease through their warmness making my stay a great experience which with no doubt I would repeat. I thank this work-team with all my heart for having received me with wide open arms and I am full of admiration as to the guides regarding their kindness in sharing their knowledge and experience with me. Being far from home for such a long time was not always easy but having spent a long period of time in the jungle and specially in the Reserva Natural Palmari brought to me braveness, strength and knowledge, tools which I will use for the rest of my life and which I obtained thanks to the large knowledge of this place and its peoples.



  Apoena Dias Mano

During the time I was doing volunteer work at the Reserva Natural Palmari I had the opportunity to learn and develop various aspects related to my personal and professional profile. The main functions of the volunteers at the Reserva Natural Palmari are monitoring the guides, conducting the translation during activities with the visiting guests and other basic services. However, I was able to go further and contribute with other types of service, including the re-construction of the resting area for the guides and staff members.

By working with a community initiative has several positive factors. Just in my early days as a volunteer, I faced the challenge of spending 5 days walking and hammock-camping during an “extreme trek” in the forest with guests that contracted this activity and this was one of the most memorable experiences for me. To stay immersed for so long in the jungle with two local guides and performing full-time translation to the tourists enabled me to learn a lot about the respectful relationship that these locals have with nature. I observed how they walk in the jungle and can orientate themselves based on the position of the trees and the flow of the jungle-creeks, the way to accomplish traditional fishing, the production of handmade utensils only using leaves, bark and vines, knowing about the specific properties and advantages of various plants and animals, as well as to observe their ability to imitate specific sounds to call certain animals for the tourists to observe them close-up.

The behavior of the different types of tourists that are received in the Reserva Natural Palmari is also a great opportunity of learning about and from them. There are several types of interest, such as walking for several hours, observing of wildlife, just relaxing or even spending the night searching for insects, frogs, toads and other nocturnal species. Either by undertaking “treks”, venturing out in kayaks to observe pink and grey dolphins, visiting local neighboring communities or climbing up into the canopy of trees and moving about them, the common thread of all is the desire to contribute to the appropriate and professional operation of a communal-socially-ecologically motivated initiative and the interest of learning to respect nature and its specific aspects.

The fact of living in a remote region of the Amazon rainforest also allows very specific learning aspects. Unable to be connected to electronic devices at all times, I started to pay more attention to what surrounds us, like the sounds of the forest and wildlife, the observation of the sun, the trees, the stars and the amazon rain, the flow of the river rising in the flooding season or it´s falling water levels in the dry season and even just enjoying moments of resting in the comfortable hammocks on the main terrasse or in the indigenous-built Maloka.
I had great times having interesting conversations about our reality with tourists, local guides, staff members and especially with the other volunteers being present during my period of stay. I thank especially Daniela “Dani” and Carolina “Caro” for all the support during the time we spent working together. I am very lucky to have met these other two volunteers and pride myself to being able to call them my best of friends now!

Certainly the experience of a period of 3 months volunteering at the Reserva Natural Palmari is something I would highly recommend and considering the experience I had, I now certainly would like to accomplish other types of volunteering. Today, remembering the time I spent in the Amazon rainforest at the Reserva Natural Palmari, it all seems like a dream. A really very nice dream!


  Daniela Cuellar Villa

My stay at the Reserva Natural Palmari was marvelous. I stayed there six weeks, which just flew by. I had the great opportunity to meet other volunteers which made the adventure much more delightful and who ended-up becoming my great and best friends. The place is beautiful, the installations are simple but very comfortable, nothing lacks. The maloka in which I slept during my stay is very nice and has an unique energy.

The staff is warm and forthcoming, the food delicious, the guides are wise and funny local people, always willing to share a good moment and to teach you a little of all they have learned during their long years of living in the surrounding jungles. I met incredible persons from a huge variety of different countries, practiced a lot of English and picked-up some Portuguese. As a volunteer I had to accompany the visiting tourists and translate  during their activities that the reserve offers: walks and treks in the jungle, over-night camping in the forests, kayak tours, observation of dolphins, visiting the giant capoc tree, fishing, meeting the neighbouring communities, between a lot of others…all of them excellent. At the beginning it might seem a bit difficult to adjust to the physical effort that is required for being a volunteer – at least for me, who am pretty sedentary, jejeje… - but with the passing of days you notice that you are very capable of accomplishing the task and every time you go out on an activity it is a new adventure, you always find and learn something new and very interesting.

At the end of the day you may enjoy an ice-cold glass of caipirinha while you share the experience with the guests;) Laura, the seized and with purposes of being released into the wildlife rehabilitated macaw by the Reserva Natural Palmari – she does not want to leave and has declared herself as self-adopted by the visitors centre – is a very special being that wins your love with all her naughtiness, she became like our “pet dog” during our stay. I have always loved nature and visiting and working in the Reserva Natural Palmari was a huge opportunity to be in contact with the rain forest, its magic, its wildlife, its modus vivendi.

I am very thankful to the whole team of the Reserva Natural Palmari for having allowed me to live this unforgettable experience. A big hug to all, specially to Apoena “Apo” and Carolina “Caro”, my adorable volunteer-companions who shared this adventure with me. ! Thank you Palmari! My best wishes for all of you for 2.016! See you soon!



  Gabriela Del Mar Abello Gois  

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As a volunteer at the visitors center of the Reserva Natural Palmari, located somewhere in the middle of the Yavarí river, on brazilian territory, you get to know the depths of the amazon rainforest in the best possible way. For me, the opportunity of sharing with people from other cultures, such as the staff-crew and the visitors that travel all around the world to get there, is an amazing way of learning more about the surroundings. One of the best things I did during my volunteering, was to explore the mighty jungle while hiking during days and camping around the fire several nights while in the company of a group of visitors on a multiple day “trekk” , adapting myself to the sometimes scary environment that this wilderness can sometimes manifest. That was probably what I liked the most, aside of all the different activities that the unique amazon experience can offer at the Reserva Natural Palmari: kayaking on the river and through the flooded varzea forest, admire the nature and observe wildlife, climbing to the triple platform system high above the forest canopy and enjoy the incredible view, amongst many others. All of these unforgettable activities were part of my day-to-day routine, sharing them with beautiful people: travelers that became amazed with the beauties of the rainforest and locals who surprised and shared with us their close knowledge about the mysteries that this place hides. Volunteering at the Reserva Natural Palmari gave me a much wider perspective about the ways of living (and surviving) this adventure. It is not only about having fun and making good relations with people, but also with the homeland to millions of living things that receive us as visitors and deserve our respect.



  Maria Jose Arrieta  

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My name is Maria José Arrieta, I am 19 years young and I stayed at the Reserva Natural Palmarí for 6 weeks, 42 days in which I had the opportunity to get closer to the jungle and it´s mysteries. As a volunteer my work covered accompanying the visiting guests, specially the one´s interested in observing birds, further in the search for and identifying of animals in respect to herpethology - frogs, toads, lizards and snakes - in the vicinity of the visitors centre. Having the opportunity to participate in the daily activities of the visitors centre did not only allow me to be close to the main staff, but also to the people of the neighbouring villages and comunities which work, provide to and complement the work team of the Reserva Natural Palmari, this in particular making the feeling of “being far from home” fade until vanishing, as I felt like being at home. Work is a communal groupe thing, where other volunteers, the guides, the chief of catering, the chief of rooming, the main administrator, his assistant and all other are basic and needed, thus I never felt anything missing and all persons were always ready to help and become a part of the experience. Not to forget, the volunteer time in the Reserva Natural Palmarí gave me the opportunity to learn basic portuguese and to meet persons from all over the world, thus creating new bonds of friendship. I truly believe, that persons which not only want to help the Reserva Natural Palmari, but also want to learn in respect to issues related to nature should definitely go to the Reserva Natural Palmari since it is the correct answer and decision, as I can assure that it is easier to learn all about it if you are living it in the jungle, then sitting in a classroom. For me, staying in the Reserva Natural Palmari meant to shake-off and learn; shaking-off the need for technology in which I lived immersed in a city like Bogotá and learning by all possible means, as learning to run from the rain and not due to a lack of time, as recognizing the song from birds and not the sound of cars, as paying respect to the jungle and not the streets. I learned, that hiding is not always the same as fleeing, that sometimes it is necessary to hide if you want to be able to find. Having changed my life during 6 weeks, honestly I now think, that being able to both see the glimmer of the funghee on the forest floor as well as the glimmer of the stars in the night-sky, hearing the breathing of the dolphins taking-in the air from the lung of the world should be a “must” on the list of everybody.



  Luis Felipe Riveros

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It´s hard to describe how great is the change I underwent while I was a volunteer at the Reserva Natural Palmari. It was an unforgettable experience, which taught me a lot of good things. My work at the visitors center was very gratifying, especially because of the members of the work-team were by my side. The staff is everything you can expect of the people with whom you are going to live for six weeks. Some of my tasks as a volunteer were translating for tourists, accompanying them during the activities and lend a hand in the kitchen when it was meal’s time. I also helped in the expansion of a terrace and the construction of a new roof for the visitors center, thus I left having given something from me to Palmari. I think, that the Palmari experience is enhanced much more, when you live it as a volunteer. You do not only enjoy most of the tourist’s privileges, but you also learn a lot more. I’d like to thank every single person that is part of the Reserva Natural Palmari for giving me this opportunity as to meeting such a special place which up to now I had been missing. Definitely, this is an experience I’d be happy to repeat.



  Mariana Lindenmeyer 

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I spent 6 weeks as a trainee/volonteer at the visitor center of the Reserva Natural Palmarí which is located in the middle of the brazilian jungle and from where tourists can experience the jungle nearby. During this internship I worked in the areas of administration, food-preparation and accompanying of visiting tourists. Furthermore I was able to improve my spanish and portuguese skills, while speaking and doing an exchange with the staff members. As a volonteer I was responsible for maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness within the visitors center, keeping in contact with the offices in Bogotá and Leticia as well as keeping base with the management and learning the logistics of the business. I also was in charge for the day to day running of the business such as shopping and picking up supplies from the local providing villages. Besides that, I welcomed the tourists, accompanied them from the airport or river-port to the Reserva Natural Palmari as well as during their excursions and their overall stay in order to support them in cases of language difficulties, questions or just to help them with information. I was also supporting the staff from the kitchen as to the distribution and presentation of the food, further helping to cook and getting a better comprehension about the local habits and stock of food. As I mentioned before, the Reserva Natural Palmari is the perfect place to practize and improve all of my language skills: spanish and portuguese I had to speak with the staff and other volunteers, as well as english with the tourists. The life in the Reserva Natural Palmarí is quite different from my habitual modern life. Almost without electricity, transportation by boat, going to bed early while you could see the sky full of stars which were reflected in the river and sleeping peacefully while only hearing the noises from the birds, frogs and crickets. A stunning and perfect place to take a break from the usual life. The team-work and living with the staff went well too, because they were always helpful and warm. I learned a lot during this time and had a great experience which I will never forget. I am very thankful for this great opportunity I was given and can warmly recommend to everybody to go to the Reserva Natural Palmari to experience and live their own adventure.



Voluntary English Classes Reserva Natural Palmari & Instituto de Desenvolvimento Socioambiental do Vale do Rio Javari June to August 2009 Julia Ittrich

Julia Ittrich, a young, beautifull, highly responsible german hotelier girl, who has worked with various hotel chains in the United States of North America, Grand Cayman Islands and Australia, decided to give it a try, move to the Reserva Natural Palmari from June to August 2.009 and teach basic english to a groupe of guides, girls working in the kitchen and in the housekeeping area, “canopying activity” personell and various other interested members of both the Palmari and Sao Pedro do Norte neighbouring communities. Lessons took place in two shifts, one for the male students from 06:30° to 08:00° and one for the female students from 15:00° to 16:30° and, after Julia had developed a criteria regarding the best and most interested students, she gave personalized lessons to 2 male and 2 female students during different half-hour blocks during the day, whenever these 4 hand-picked students could take some time out from work, home responsabilities or other. Each student was given a photocopied english book, a note book and a pencil and classes took place at the “enramada” being equiped with a blackboard with seating and writing facilities for each student. Besides these “fixed class lessons” she also decided to follow these 4 students on their work routine (the girls in the kitchen and/or during room cleaning, linnen washing or other; the boys during jungle guidance, “canopying” activities, fishing or else) and teach them the relevant vocabulary and conversation in english language specifically needed for and during these activities. We might also conclude from the experience that not only the local community members learned basic english, but Julia improoved on her spanish and after this experience now also considers herself as a basic portuguese speaking girl. Making new friends, meeting new people, interacting with tourists and the activities during the “Yanawara 2009” summer camps held during the whole month of July, learning a lot about neo-tropical rain forests and understanding today quite a good deal regarding the amazonian modus vivendi convinced her of wanting to return for another teacher´s shift hopefully next year and we, both the Reserva Natural Palmari and the Instituto de Desenvolvimento Socioambiental do Vale do Rio Javari look forward to it = Thank you, Julia, and immer, jederzeit, herzlichst willkommen!



Voluntary Interaction, Games, Ecological Creativity with Children Reserva Natural Palmari & Instituto de Desenvolvimento Socioambiental do Vale do Rio Javari August to September 2008 Johanna Knaack

Johanna Knaack, a young, beautifull, highly responsible german girl, who was visiting the Reserva Natural Palmari as a tourist in May, 2.008, decided to give it a try, move to the Reserva Natural Palmari from August to September 2.008 and work with children between 4 to 15 years of age from both the Palmari and Sao Pedro do Norte neighbouring communities. The programme created by Johanna included improoving their skills when working with their hands by using new materials like papier-mache, carpenter tools, “origami” and similar; developing art creativity with crayons, water-colours, pencils, sissors and glue; enhancing responsibility and ownership by planting, caring, nurseing and re-planting in the surrounding forests trees belonging to each child; giving them new routines regarding tidyness, ecological waste-management, self-cleanliness and caring for their cloths by instructing certain rules that had to be obeyed and followed day-by-day; decorating white T-shirts, which they could keep as presents; competing in games and sport events designed for improoving their environmentally protective conciousness with rewards like small tokens, toys and sweets for the winning team or child; undertaking of collective garbage picking and similar throughout the entire village areas and various other activities which always combined learning, ecology, sustainable living scenarios with fun and games. In return Johanna learned a lot from these children as to their modus vivendi, was impressed on how happy these kids were eventhough living on basic conditions and with very few toys or other related items rich, modern children these days are provided; besides improoving on her spanish and learning portugues she was taught indirectly important live-lessons as to how different but still rich and colourfull amazonian life in poor and basic colonist villages can be. Johanna impressed not only the children but her families in a deep and positive way; not one eye was dry when she parted, all the kids wanted her to stay and her leaving was dramatic with children crying heartbreakingly, mothers in silence looking to the ground, our staff overwhelmed in sorrow and various of our guides still suffering when remembering her: Johanna had to promise her soon return. The Reserva Natural Palmari and the Instituto de Desenvolvimento Socioambiental do Vale do Rio Javari look forward to it = Thank you, Johanna, and immer, jederzeit, herzlichst willkommen!



  Peter Richards

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In order to provide the below depicted school we initiated the search for funding and optained it through “ARYSTA LIFESCIENCE CORPORATION” which, up to now has donated the money needed to build, paint and put into good use of a school and its sanitary installation at 4 “caboclo” communities of San Pedro do Norte, Pirapitinga, Jaburu and Asaizal in the middle and upper Javari valley; logistics regarding transport of construction material, tools, feeding of the involved carpenters and masons, as well as lodging equipment for the institute´s personell stationed at the job-sites was provided free of charge by the “RESERVA NATURAL PALMARI” and each and every step from scratch until final “turn key” delivery was managed, controlled and exceptionally well administrated by the institute´s operational manager, Mr. Jaime Gonzalves Cunha.

In order to provide the below depicted aqueduct we initiated the search for funding and optained it through a private school “COLEGIO NUEVA GRANADA” which, up to now, has donated the money needed to buy all necessary materials such as the motor-pump, the tubing, the water tanks and all relevant accessories to build and put into good use of an aqueduct for the “caboclo” communitie of San Pedro do Norte; the man-hour work and requiered tools to perforate the deep-well, as well as the wood, nails, screws, bolts and other accessories to built the water-tower holding the water-tanks were donated by the “RESERVA NATURAL PALMARI” together with the logistics regarding transport of construction material, tools, feeding of the involved carpenters and masons, as well as lodging equipment for the institute´s personell stationed at the job-site; then, during 2 month, three groups of students from the “COLEGIO NUEVA GRANADA”, “COLEGIO TRINIDAD DEL MONTE” and “CIEDI” visiting the Reserva Natural Palmari as part of their annual educational pensum in respect to their excursions curriculum, took to the taks of building the full infrastructure with help and orientation by the community members and the whole proyect managed, controlled and exceptionally well administrated by the institute´s operational manager, Mr. Jaime Gonzalves Cunha assisted by the british volontaire Mr. Peter Richards; also we find important to mention that the requiered lobbying to promote and sell the proyect to the involved private schools was professionally-well taken care of by the summer-camp & school class excursion operating agency “ZAMBO – OBA”