Cleaning up!

Have you ever taken part in one of these activities?

For me, last Sunday was the first time, and it was such a great way to begin!

Caju-Perú (Comité Ambiental Juvenil), a local organization that joins together volunteers and different groups run by young people with the commitment to preserve the environment and educate population, was celebrating its '8th birthday'. For the occasion, they organised a clean up in a place called 'Lomas de Lúcumo', in Quebrada Verde, Pachacamac.

When I got the invitation, I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know the place and I only knew a couple of people there besides Tommy.

We woke up very early and went to the meeting point, where around a hundred volunteers congregated. I felt so old! I was probably one of the oldest in the group!

Two extremely crowded buses took us to Quebrada Verde. The place was grey and seemed like a lifeless hill from where we gathered. I was a little worried.

People from all ages and districts of Lima joined the campaign. It was a particular joy to see kids from the community proudly wearing vests that ID them as 'environmental promoters'.

We got instructions and were divided into five brigades. Each brigade took a different path, and armed with gloves and bags started our morning picking up the inorganic waste that we found along the trails.

The higher we got up the hills, the greener they became. Life started to show. It was an amazing climb, picking up lots of garbage, and enjoying the stunning views.

I used my right eye and hand to bird, and my left eye and hand to pick up waste. Right hand was in charge of binoculars, left hand was in charge of cleaning up. It was a bit hard not to stop every two seconds to enjoy the view, as the rest of the volunteers walked faster and focused totally on the goal. I have to admit that I couldn't do both, I was torn between them and kept trying to; but, eventually, I had to give up birding with the promise to return.

High up on the hill (that was our brigade's main goal), the fog and mist around us made me feel as if I was in a magical world. I felt a bit sad watching such a beautiful place and imagining the people who left all those things behind. It was also sad to think of getting back to the grey, super noisy and dirty city.

The way down was harder, it was foggy and slippery. My legs were shaking after four hours of climbing and jumping and generally moving around! I spend too much time in an office. I discovered that I lost some of my strength and drive for these things (it could also be that the average age of the volunteers was ten years younger than me!). But I am moving forward now, trying to do things I enjoy and believe in, together with people I love and care about.

It was an awesome experience that I plan to repeat. I loved the place, its simple beauty and its quiet trails. I loved the activity and the perfect company of great people with such different backgrounds, but united in one single goal. I loved to see so many young people involved in it.

It was awesome. Whatever I could have expected of it, this was by far, so much more. So much better.



Perús National Bird, "Gallito de las Rocas Peruano" (Andean Cock-of-the-rock) finally made it to Birdorable!

Yes! I loved it when I read Birdorable's mail, sent by Amy, letting me know that my suggestion finally made it to such a cool site. Make sure to stop by and admire all the new designs! They are creating and creating new ones as you read. Awesome work!


A bird or two

Time hasn't been a friend lately.

I haven't been able to go birding, missed a pelagic and my thesis is way waaaay behind.

At least I've managed to take a couple of walks with Tommy around the house or while visiting family over the weekend.

I miss birds!! I miss watching them feed or groom, picking little twigs or materials for their nests or fighting for the best spot in the tree or the bush. I miss finding common birds with not so common features and just staring at them for ages. I miss finding them staring at me!

I want TIME, can anyone help me with that?