I’ve finally arrived at my destination: The Alouatta Sanctuary. The Alouatta Sanctuary is a research center, yoga sanctuary and howler monkey rehabilitation center located in the lush jungle of the Chiriqui Provence in Northern Panama. This would be my home for the next 3 months and I had no idea what to expect. I knew very little. Only that I wouldn’t have an address, mail, and potentially power?
I arrived to a girl holding three baby Howler Monkeys- one was completely wrapped around her head like a hipster headband. The baby monkeys were between 6-12 months and were orphans for one reason or another. Their names were Mojo, Coco and Nina. This is Nina above resting in one of the hammocks.
The sanctuary is 41 acres and has an incredible view of the ocean from the yoga platform, which is literally a platform in the middle of the jungle. The people here are nice, but not what I expected. I have 2 bosses, not one, and they are engaged.
There are 8 interns in total. One couple and 6 females. They are all extremely well educated, interesting, and friendly though and I feel like I’ve made a few friends already :)
In terms of contact with the outside world….it is…well limited. The sanctuary is located 30 min from David, however, the “driveway” takes another 30 min to drive up and requires 4-wheel drive. We do have internet, although only 2 people can use it at a time and its slow. Really slow. We have power 3 hours a day in order to charge the equipment and i believe people have phone service up here, which is nice. The lack of contact with the outside world is surprisingly hard and I’ve found myself struggling already. I miss my world back home.
Keeping me centered and sain are the animals. The animals here are amazing. These are the other two baby monkeys- Mojo and Coco above. So far I’ve seen 16 howler monkeys, 22 butterflies, 1 capybara, 1 agouti, 7 hummingbirds and 13 yellow tailed birds. This butterfly below is one of my favorites thus far. To keep me distracted from feeling so isolated I’ve taken to meditating (a lot) and I’m going to try and fully dive into my research. I’m trying to be brave, but its hard. I still don’t know what my personal research topic is going to be, but I’m thinking either primate emotion or a frog survey of sorts, although I have yet to see a frog. More to come. ~B