#volunteerstorycontest no. 2 by Amy Klein
My name is Amy Klein and I was a volunteer in Bolivia from August 31st, 2017 through October 1st, 2017. I spent four amazing, wonderful, hot, hard working weeks at La Senda Verde. I have so many memories from my time there but one in particular that sticks out in my mind was an afternoon spent with Pimenta, one of the Spider Monkeys. On this particular day the spider monkeys were all wound up.
I was headed to clean the rats with a few other volunteers. While on my way there Pimenta was lurking around the area looking for cuddles and I paused long enough on my walk that she decided I was the perfect cuddling partner. She climbed up my legs and into my arms so I could cradle her even through we were not encouraged to. Never the less I now had her in my arms and was unable to get her to be more interested in the fence or a tree. Due to an event that occurred earlier in the day we were instructed to be extra careful with the spider monkeys that day to avoid any other situations.
Due to this I was instructed to just sit tight and hangout with her without cuddling her but just allowing her to sit on me until she got bored and left me. Spider monkeys can be heavy after a while so I managed to smoothly sit down on a rock nearby. So we sat together and enjoyed the beautiful day after the rain decided to finally go away for a bit. Pimenta and I sat there for about an hour. During that time I felt bad for not doing my volunteer duties. English speaking tours walked by and the other volunteers explained the situation of why I was sitting with her. Explaining that I was not just cuddling her but was kind of stuck there with her sitting on my lap. Pimenta decided that us sitting down was a good time to take a nap on me.
So there she was napping while I was just stuck there not cuddling her, wrapping my arms around her or squeezing her in any way possible. I began to loose feeling in my legs so I shifted my weight and legs to get more comfortable, which she grumpily disapproved of as she was taking her afternoon nap. I realized at this point that if I shifted just right maybe she would be uncomfortable enough to leave my lap and go on with the rest of her day and I could get back to mine. Everyone who walked near me was supportive and laughed.
I kept asking if there was anything I could do to get her off but everyone simply said I had to just let her be until she got off my lap on her own. Looking back at it I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my time with Pimenta that day. She is one of the cuddliest spider monkeys at La Senda Verde. I got to spend an entire day with a magnificent creature in the beautiful jungles of Bolivia. Coming from the semi-arid deserts of Idaho, that’s a pretty great day right there. “Monkey Time” was always a coveted time for most volunteers and I managed to get a whole hour of “monkey time”.
La Senda Verde has impacted my life so much and I cannot wait to go back again in the future. All the animals and staff at La Senda Verde hold a special place in my heart. I will forever be grateful to my time there and my special afternoon with Pimenta.