March 27, 2011

New Volunteer Lodging at CARES' Jungle Facility!

Readers of this blog are well aware of our April “Vets Abroad”* trip!  Recently I wrote about what our volunteers can expect to eat.  Today I am writing about their accommodations!!

Volunteers and I have always squeezed in together in my cozy little house at our jungle refuge.  The house is three bedrooms and three baths and sleeps up to 7 people.  Read my prior blog about volunteer lodging!  Our April group of vets have a wonderful surprise in store for them!

In December 2010 we embarked on the ambitious project of expanding and maintaining our jungle facility.  We were prompted by CGI’s generous donation to build a new kennel and play area for puppies and small dogs. 

Mid-construction of volunteer house
Maintenance issues were also a concern.  Ants had eaten through the wires of most electrical outlets in my home (we have a generator – there is no electricity nearby).  Few electric fans could function without an outlet, especially when people needed to recharge their cameras, etc.  The generator only runs a few hours a day, so we had to undo the ant damage!!  Finally, our multi-purpose building, the Maloca, needed new roofing, as did many areas of the shelter.

March 25, 2011

What Amazon CARES Volunteers Eat!

This blog is about the food Amazon CARES volunteers will eat while in Peru.  It is not a traditional food blog about Iquitos and local cuisine, as we westernize our food a bit for our volunteers.  We also serve many vegetarian dishes that are not cooked in any animal fats.  This is not too common in Iquitos.

Amazon CARES employs a housekeeper and cook when volunteers are on-site.  Marlene (pronounced Mar-Lay-Nay) is loved by all, especially for her incredible cooking skills.  Once we had a table combining vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerant, food allergic volunteers, and she skillfully fed every single one of us.  All foods are washed and cooked in filtered water.

Nobody has ever gotten sick eating food cooked by Marlene, however sometimes people do experience a mild reaction to the quick change in diet.  I caution all travelers about eating food off the street, as this often leads to the harshest stomach reactions.  On a recent trip some adventurous volunteers ate barbecued maggots in the market.  Yuch!  But they survived!

Marlene’s cuisine is a delicious combination of indigenous Amazonian and traditional Peruvian dishes.  Each region of Peru is very distinct, and the Amazon region features cuisine that is very palatable to most travelers.  More adventurous people can sample exotic dishes made with caiman (lagarto), wild boar (huangana), guinea pigs and piranha.  However these dishes will have to be tried at a local restaurant.  At the Amazon CARES lodge we stick with the basics.

March 22, 2011

April Adventure - Excitement is Mounting for Vets Abroad Program!

I am departing for the Amazon in less than a week, and I am full-on excited!  We have a tremendous team of volunteers that will be joining me in Peru for part of my time there.  We've written about our "A" team coming in April 2011 more than a few times on our blog.  Our fundraising superstar, Dr. Patrick Mahaney, has already started to practice his video blogging skills (See our prior blog).  Social media superstar blogger "Dr. V" is joining us too, as is Virtual Vet Amanda Brown.  We've also introduced you to Vet Tech Nikka Harvey.

There are other volunteers coming you might not know about!  And I am also announcing our final itinerary details!!

March 2, 2011