Travel writer Tom Leaman writes about some of Exeter's lesser-known treasures.Written by Tom Leaman on 6th April 2018
My South American Adventure
Tashaa Naidoo describes her experience in South America
“That’s not to say it’s the safest country in the world, petty crime is an issue, drugs and the like too just as anywhere you go and you do have to be careful, but you don’t have to be so alert and suspicious of everyone you meet!
Welcome to the Jungle
“Surrounded by greenery and trees galore, I called this place home for about a month.
My happy group of travellers and I volunteered at an animal refuge called Merazonia whose primary concern is the welfare & rehabilitation of trafficked, abused & injured animals. To achieve this, the organisation relies heavily on volunteer help to clean and feed the animals three times a day. They are one of the only centres in Ecuador to not have any parasites due to the diligent care they give to the animals. The work is hard and can be physically draining but the people who work there are motivated and dedicated to the cause. If working with animals is something of interest to you, I’d definitely recommend contacting Merazonia, they’re an extremely worthwhile organisation who genuinely put their money they get to good use.
Surrounded by greenery and trees galore, I called this place home for about a month. We had no electricity and had to cook and eat by candlelight which was definitely an experience in itself. Some of the people I met there actually preferred an electricity free lifestyle, they found it more peaceful living without the constant sound of phones pinging which I very much admired. Being completely immersed in the jungle life was both challenging yet rewarding. Merazonia had a real sense of community and spirit, nothing was ever done half heartedly and everything was done for the good of the animals.
“The work is hard and can be physically draining but the people who work there are motivated and dedicated to the cause.
“the real highlight of Peru would have to be the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
My top tips for anyone travelling to South America:
- You won’t be able to see everything - enjoy what you’re able to do and don’t tire yourself out trying to visit anything and everything.
- Learn some Spanish – it makes you feel so much more comfortable and confident too.
- Try the street & market food – it’s totally safe, really cheap and so good.
- Haggle – learn those Spanish numbers, they come in handy.
- Try guinea pig – it tastes just like chicken!