Today I got to work in the monkey enclosure while the tourists came in. I was in there for about three hours. These were all babies, as the adults get to go out to the forest pretty much all day. There were two spider monkeys and the rest were howlers. I know I keep over using the word ‘cute’, but seriously…aren’t babies just the best? There is something uniquely perfect about a baby howler’s face. They are so adorable, especially when they fall asleep in your lap, on your neck or in your arms. They’re super warm, soft and even smell good. I don’t know how they do it, but they smell almost sweet. There’s nothing offensive about them. Well, except when they pee or poop on you. I was pretty lucky today in that department and didn’t get any of that.
At first, they were very hyper. With the spider monkeys (mainly the girl) causing most of the trouble. She was a handful. Smacking around the howlers, biting, swinging and running everywhere. Then something amazing happened about an hour into it. She climbed up on my shoulders and fell asleep. I knew she was asleep because I could feel parts of her twitch, like she was dreaming. Everyone thought she was such an angel…yeah…when they sleep, they’re ALL angels.
Then the baby howlers curled up with one another in a chair and fell asleep. One fell asleep in my arms for a while before that. Wow…there was really no comparison I could give you to explain that feeling. They were inherently trusting, just wanting to be held and loved. I groomed him, knowing that monkeys like that sort of thing and looked at his little perfect face. He chatted to me and would run around talking…I wonder about what?
I know all of this doesn’t seem like work, but we did have to clean and basically stand the whole time, so by the end of it, I was fairly exhausted. I also started out the morning cleaning the bird cages (toucans, kinkajou, the ‘pines and the owls…oh and the paca who mostly hid out. I guess that wasn’t too bad but it took a couple of hours.
I scaled back my hours so I only work from 7:30-1:30ish…which honestly is still a lot. I just couldn’t handle the load, both physically and with everything I had to do around the house. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. I’m not sure that will even be good enough. Considering I work for FREE, it would be nice to have more time off, but then again I’m here to gain experience. I think having the afternoons free will help a bit.
It gets dark around 6 here which severely limits me to certain things. I don’t want to leave the house after dark. Yard work has to be done. The house is always dusty and needs sweeping each day, multiple times. Termites I believe are eating certain parts of the house so there are little piles of…something…at the bottom of doors and along the walls. Laundry and dishes are done by hand. Laundry can only be dried in the morning when the sun is out, so that has to be done first thing. I find myself doing it almost daily, as I’m sweaty and dirty after work and prefer for my clothes not to sit very long.
I did feel good about my carbon footprint being very small here though. The garbage I took out to the road for the week was about the size of a plastic grocery bag, if not smaller. That was kitchen and bathroom trash. Everything else goes into the compost pile or gets re-used. I don’t have a car (hell, I don’t even have a BIKE yet!) so I walk where I need to go. Work is only about 12 minutes away and I can take the beach or the road, depending on my mood. I usually take the beach home to get my feet wet and relax.
Oh, almost forgot about the sloth body parts. Here’s a picture of and ear and a foot.
I just had to take a picture of three hanging out on the new structure which they really seem to like…keeps them off the ground but Tyson likes to bite the little ones a lot. Poor little Palma just cries and it’s so heartbreaking to hear. Actually, Tyson got a hold of my finger through the blankets and man, it was NOT pleasant. Funny their personalities. Conan(?) just wants to be held (shown in the blanket) and will literally crawl toward you begging for affection.
You can mostly see him being slung around someone’s waist in a blanket during the day, looking up at the person with a smile.