Today was excellent. Kicking the morning off at a late 7 am, breakfast was delicious eggs, plantains, fresh fruits, and a blackberry juice smoothie. All the food here is so yummy and very accommodating for the many food intolerances our group has. After breakfast, we gathered together to discuss what games we were going to host for the local children. Some decided to play sports with them, while others began to make friendship bracelets. Once more children came, we began teaching them how to make the bracelets for themselves and for us. The little girls really enjoyed it, and also really enjoyed tickling us. The boys and older kids played a lot of soccer, while Alec befriended a boy and taught him football. At 12:30, lunch was served, a meat dish and some soup with a lemon square for dessert. After we all took a two-hour nap, it was our final snailing time. We split into two groups; one went with Hector and one with Mauricio. It was fun as always, and we enjoyed teasing the staff about their ages. After collecting precisely 1547 snails, roughly, I was singing with Mira while collecting snails when I was rudely silenced by a bullet ant in the palm of my hand. Bullet ants are the most painful insect sting in the Amazon. I shrieked in pain and burst into tears as the bullet ant stung me through my glove. Mira immediately brought her attention and assistance while the look on counselor Emma’s face was priceless. We hurried over to the medical station near the main lodge, where I was put in the care of a doctor. They administered an injection to reduce the swelling and pain, and I was able to relax and recover before dinner. It has been four hours since the sting, and I’m feeling much better. It’s time for dinner. As it is our last night, we were treated to a traditional meal: an entire tilapia fish was served with a salad and yuca. As a special treat, we were served grubs fresh from the swamp. Delicious. They taste like corn, shrimp, and salt in one bite. When we finished, we gave Greece (Alex) a traditional birthday celebration complete with a friendly spanking. A huge thank you was given to the Ecolodge staff as they said goodbye. On our final night in the Amazon, we headed to our rooms to pack for our early morning trip back to Quito tomorrow. This trip to the Amazon has been an absolutely incredible experience that we will never forget. Working with the children and collecting the snails was very rewarding. It was an honor to work alongside Hector and Mauricio. We can’t wait to continue our exploration of Ecuador…because there are no bullet ants in the Galapagos.
PS Final snail count: 25,000