1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
Marcela and Laura (local ABV staff) are both amazing women. They treated me as their daughter, listened to me, were patient with me, and put my experience first.
2- What was most difficult to experience?
I found a hurt blue footed boobie on the beach. It had a hole in its back and was stuck in the rising tide. I took it to the National Park office in Isabela and they told me they wouldn’t do anything. That was shocking to me. Not even give it some medicine so that it wouldn’t die suffering. The man there and I got into quite an argument. I was very upset and could not believe that they were literally going to stand by and watch it die in pain. I lost a lot of respect for the Galapagos National Park that day. I understand that their intention is to limit interference and to let the natural world run its course however that they expected me to stand by and watch the animal suffer and drown was beyond my understanding.
3- Any tips for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
Lightweight Waterproof jacket is a must.
Let the local people get used to you. They will not be very friendly right off the bat.
The locals know the truly great places to go. Don’t limit yourself to the tours only offered by the travel locations.
4-Other things volunteers should know: a. Be prepared to meet very interesting people with very different life stories
b. Always listen to your inner voice. Do not think that just because it is a different country that your instincts are wrong.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I come from a very different background than the typical volunteer. I think that the fact of being fresh out the military made me have different expectations. Ultimately, things worked out as they were supposed to and I would not change my experience for anything.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
The accommodation was the perfect place to live. It allowed me autonomy and time on my own. It was always clean and accommodating. The food was great and the staff became my closest friends. The people in the city are very kind and I did not feel unsafe.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Finding a baby tortoise was probably the highlight of my trip. It was a once in a lifetime experience that will carry over into a good life for the turtle and an excellent memory for me.
8 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes I would.