August 17, 2010

Volunteer Lodging Offers Creatures, Comfort

Here the day starts with the sun filtering through the screens, the sounds of insects and birds in the trees and the occasional dog bark. Breakfast is at the table with fresh fruit, juice, eggs and toast. The journey to work is a thirty minute speed boat ride along the river with the chance of a pink river dolphin to delay the trip rather than a broken down car that jams the motorway.

Dr. Annie Cook, CARES Volunteer

Volunteers who stay at the Cabo Lopez CARES facility are often surprised at the amenities and charms of the jungle lodging. With electricity from a generator, indoor bathroom, filtered water from the tap, multiple bedrooms and a kitchen, the volunteer lodge is far from the “roughing it” one might expect from the remote area.

However, amid the prosaic comforts of a warm meal and a soft bed after the end of a long day, you cannot escape the otherworldliness of the jungle outside. Abutting a forest, you are continually reminded of the wildness of your surroundings: from the constant insect drone, the riotous cacophony of jungle bird life, and the monkeys that forage in the trees on the grounds, the Cabo Lopez site is a haven in the middle of nature at its most exotic and primordial.

In addition to the comfortable accommodations, volunteers are treated to delicious, fresh meals prepared on site by Marlene, CARES’ remarkable chef/laundress/caretaker. As Dr. Jo Langford reported, “Marlene was our heroine at Cabo Lopez who cooked, did our laundry and generally cleaned up after us. Dinner would always be ready upon our return “home” and she never ceased to amaze with a variety of dishes, fresh juices and fruit.”

Dr. Alex Belch, a veterinarian volunteer, stayed in Cabo Lopez during the dry season, and so traveled by land rather than by boat from Iquitos. "Our jungle home was an enjoyable 20 minute ride from the centre of Iquitos, passing through a couple of local villages on the way. The house was very comfortable with sofas, tv and a kitchen where Marlany the housekeeper was always on hand with a fresh jungle fruit juice. Our room had bunkbed and shower and certainly had no trouble sleeping after a bust day volunteering for AmazonCares!"

Veterinarian and veterinarian technician volunteers are always high in demand, as are carpenters or construction experts to aid in the creation and repair of shelter facilities. Lay volunteers are also welcome to aid in socializing some of the shelter pets.

If you are interested in volunteering in Iquitos and/or Cabo Lopez, wish to gather more information about Amazon CARES and its work, or even make a donation to this non-profit organization, please visit our website at

Written by CARES Volunteer Linda Schwefel

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