La Senda Verde pt. 2, Bolivia 2009
Date of entry: July 7, 2009
3.5 weeks left in South America!
My week at La Senda Verde has come to an end…..
It has been a wonderful week filled with animals, tours in Spanish, being bitten on the ear 👂 by Jimmy, clearing capuchin faeces, but still having the most amazing time there.
A brief history:
It was initially set up for educational tourism in conjunction with local schools in Yungas (the area). They would come and learn more about conservation and the environment as part of their day trips (or sometimes even overnight there). This was before there were ever any animals with Vicky and Marcelo Ossio.
However, having being given a monkey to look after, so the journey and learning curve began as they both came to grips with the animal world. 🌎
Having clearly done an exceedingly good job, the list started to grow, and the solitary monkey turned into a monkey and some macaws. This all started to develop into the sanctuary as it stands today.
The wonderful Vicky and Marcelo
In addition, a convenient stop off point for Death Road tourism is located next to La Senda Verde, but with no quality amenities for the high paying tourists. Marcelo put it to the local community, having a fantastic brainwave, that perhaps they should work in partnership to build some quality conveniences for these tourists….
The local community (in 2002/3 period) felt that this investment too much for them at this stage…But when Vicky was told of the idea, La Senda Verde became reality as they funded the whole enterprise themselves. 💪
Working in conjunction with three cycling agencies, this was then reduced to one, the agency they now so successfully work with, Gravity.
Alongside this the number of animals has grown significantly, as mentioned.
Unfortunately, although the animals are technically state owned, they provide no financial backing at all for the welfare and upkeep of the animals. Vicky and Marcelo do their best then to juggle tourism (in order to fund their lives, which they will all hopefully live out at La Senda Verde!)
Tourism, and paying volunteers are vital to the survival of the animals here, and thankfully, volunteers love to come work, stay and pay. I can vouch for this, it is well worth the price at only $120 US dollars a week, with three hot meals a day, every day…🙌
Plans for the future?
1. To create a foundation to which people can donate to the animals and the upkeep of La Senda Verde rather than in cash upfront
2. To build sanctuaries, or fully fledged enclosures for the animals here of proper quarantines (rather than the home of Vicky and Marcelo!)
3. Currently owning 12 hectares of land, more is needed – so looking into expanding the property
4. Formalising the volunteer process with inductions,uniforms, documentation and preparation…
5. To couple this up with a learn Spanish programme while working at La Senda Verde
And much, much more that escapes me in this hunger-filled moment of mine…