Thursday, May 24, 2012

And we're back...

As most of our loyal followers probably know by now, we've made it safely back to the US with all 15 of the students (and 2 professors) that we left with.  Our flight from Georgetown to JFK was smooth, but the flight from JFK to MSP included circling to wait out storms and then a detour to Rochester to get more fuel, resulting in a return to campus around 3:30 am.  All participants seem to agree that it was a great trip overall, though I think most were glad to be back to specific things (and people) that they missed while they were gone.

There will be no more blog posts; enjoy hearing stories and seeing pictures from participants themselves now.  Thanks for following our adventures.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pictures of Kaiteur

Kaiteur Falls :)

The bigger of the two planes we took to the falls!

No one managed to fall off. We did get to see a rainbow!

Kaiteur Falls view from the plane. Photo taken by Shea :)

Hello from Kaiteur! :)

May 20, Kaieteur Falls

After multiple rain delays, we flew out of Annai around 2:00 in 2 small planes.  Destination: Kaieteur Falls.  Words cannot describe our initial view of the falls, nor the following views as we landed safely at Kaieteur.  We were soaked through immediately on our way to our first stop along the falls.  The fog and the rain did not conceal the grandeur of this 750ft waterfall.  Our first view allowed us to see the falls in its entirety.  We made our way lower down on the 2 billion year-old rock to catch a glimpse lower down.  The rain cleared for our last stop by the waterfall, leaving a beautiful rainbow behind.  We laid on our stomachs and looked down to see every drop of the largest single-drop waterfall in the world.  Though our visit was brief, most of us agreed that this was the most beautiful sight we have ever seen and may get to see in our lifetime.  Our pilots flew us safely through the rain and we landed in Georgetown where Roop took us back to his house for our last couple days of the trip.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Remote Camp
May 14th-18th

Anthony, one of our guides, shows us how to weave baskets at our remote camp.

After a two hour boat ride into the jungle, we came across our remote camp located along the fork of the Bora Bora River and Fatty Waters. The camp consisted of two sleeping areas lined with hammocks and covered with a tarp, a thatched kitchen area, and a covered dining area. Our bathroom was called the “long-drop” and it consisted of covered pits, located some distance behind the camp. Over the three full days we were at remote camp, we split into groups and did an activity every morning, rotating between the three groups. One group would go on a mountain hike, another would hike to view the petroglyphs, and the third would go fishing. Casey taught Katie how to fish and she was the only one of the group to catch a piranha. :) In the afternoons, our wonderful guides showed us traditional Amerindian and Makushi traditions such as arrow making and basket weaving. Early afternoons were reserved for resting, also known as a “siesta”. We enjoyed going into the river or rapids to bathe as that was the only time we were semi-clean. We left remote camp early Friday morning and returned by boat to Surama, where after lunch we headed off to Rock View Lodge in Annai, located about an hour and a half away by truck.

Rock View Lodge, Annai
May 18th-19th
Rock View is an absolute heaven compared to remote camp. We have running water and indoor toilets, and food that doesn’t consist of beans and rice. No one needs to worry about us losing weight on this trip. We are all extremely well fed. Rock View is gorgeous, and the grounds are covered with tropical trees and plants. We’ve enjoyed swimming in the in-ground pool and playing sand volleyball. Today, everyone had the option to either go to a soccer game in a neighboring village, go on a horseback ride, or simply relax. It has been a relaxing stay in Annai. We’re all happy and clean and well-fed. We couldn’t ask for more. Tomorrow we will board the planes for Kaiteur Falls, and after a brief visit, will fly the rest of the way into Georgetown and stay at Roop’s house until we return on Wednesday. 

Flashback to Surama...

May 13, 2012
Happy Mother’s Day! Upon waking up today, we ate a hearty breakfast in preparation for a morning hike in Surama.  We trekked beyond the village to the mountains that we passed on our way in and climbed 175 feet up one of the mountains.  Our guides took us up the smoothest path, which still involved thick trees and steep, slippery rocks.  We reached the top of the mountain and realized that the view was well-worth every step of that 7 mile hike.  In the afternoon we went back into the village for Mother’s Day festivities, including a Wartburg vs Surama volleyball tournament and a culture performance.  We held our own in the tournament, but it was pretty obvious that none of us were on the Wartburg Volleyball team.  A cultural group from Surama sang and danced for us, then requested a performance in return.  We sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and were not thrown off of the stage, so that was a good sign.  We relaxed during our last night in Surama and prepared for our upcoming journey to the remote camp.      


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Everyone down here would like to say "Happy Mother's Day!" to all of the amazing mothers back home reading the blog.  (This was posted using a delay function, so students are unable to send their own message on time.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

We are safe

If any of you have heard reports of flooding making the south of the country unsafe, be assured that we're not in the area of concern.  The State Department e-mailed us all today to say that Letham was considered unsafe due to flooding, but we passed through yesterday (thank goodness), and we're now north of there.  Tomorrow morning bright and early we relocate to Surama and the remote camp and lose our internet access so you won't hear from us for a while, but rest assured that we're keeping an eye on the water situation, and making wise decisions.  Check back on Mother's Day for a delayed post, but otherwise check back in roughly a week to learn of our adventures.  Life is good, and the trip feels for all as though it is unfortunately rushing towards its end.
--- Dr. Sam Larimer