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Meet the Corona crew !
Episode 11 : Manon

We find ourselves in a unique situation at EV: the whole team has been here for lots of months now! We would like to introduce you to this ‘Corona Crew’, today meet Manon!

Manon (28) is our “Frenchie” with her lovely accent. For how long is she staying? Manon: “That is a good question, between 1 year and 10 years.” Co-volunteer Emma describes Manon as “a very fancy lady in the least fancy place on earth, she definitely keeps the party going out here in the jungle.”

Manon is often spotted on the bench or on the stairs, watching the jungle and the animals she obviously loves a lot.

 What does she love so much about the jungle?

I love the noises; the rainforest is always alive. The jungle looks different every time. When you go to the waterfall for example, the path is never the same. The light is moving, the water is higher, trees have fallen down; you always find something different to see. My best moment is when I wake up around 5:30 and I see the clouds in between the trees. You feel how the rainforest wakes up and is breathing. And of course, I love all the animals you can find in the jungle, everywhere you walk there are some monkeys around!

Meet the Corona crew !
Episode 10 : Craig

We find ourselves in a unique situation at EV: the whole team has been here for at least 4 months now! We would like to introduce you to this ‘Corona Crew’, next up: Craig!

Craig (42), comes from New Zealand and will be staying at EV for as long as they will have him. Why does he stay? :

“Simple living surrounded by animals: I could only ever dream about that in New Zealand. An ever-changing cast of people and animals – new challenges and passive learning. The natural beauty, the colours, the noises and most of  all detached from the craziness of modern living.”

Craig is a handy guy and always there to help out, so we are very happy to have him here! But it’s not only his helpfulness we will remember him for, his co-volunteers also remember him by  “his impossible accent…” and by the fact that he is always running around. Everywhere he goes he is listening to music, so “you hear him coming before seeing him”.

Meet the Corona crew !
Episode 9 : Puck

We find ourselves in a unique situation at EV: the whole team has been here for at least 3 months now! We would like to introduce you to this ‘Corona Crew’, today our head volunteer Puck!

Puck (25), from The Netherlands, has already been here since October. She was supposed to leave in April but we are happy that she decided to stay and help out during this Corona pandemic. She is a returning volunteer who is always working or doing something, even on her days off. You will not get bored with Puck around because she is always up for games or a dance party!
When we asked her what she didn’t expect before coming to EV she said:

“The other day I got really excited when I found out, we also got lettuce with the groceries. I for sure had never thought I would get so excited when seeing a box of veggies. But placed in context: due to Corona, the shop that supplies us with food wasn’t able to send us a lot, so the lettuce was very welcome both for us and the animals.”

Meet the Corona crew !
Episode 8 : Émile

Today we would like to introduce you to one of the members of the Corona Crew, who unfortunately has left us now: our veterinarian Émile!

Émile (25) is from Belgium and has been here since November. He is very passionate about animals, but his co-volunteers will definitely remember him to be very passionate about floury, oily and fried food as well. His favorite job is working behind the microscope, which is not surprising for us since he did 180 poo samples in just the month of March!

On the question ‘Why do you love being here?’ his response was: “This place gives a wonderful purpose for my job and my life. Staying long enough to see the rescued animals growing and embracing their second life. Meeting incredible, surprising people that I can’t wait to see back in Europe.”

Meet the Corona crew !
Episode 7 : Emma

We find ourselves in a unique situation at EV with a very stable crew: the whole team has been here for at least 3 months now! We would like to introduce you to this ‘Corona Crew’, today it is Emma!

Emma, 18, is EV’s vegan hippie from England. Everyone here knows that Emma loves to spend time at the waterfall in her free time; she rarely misses an opportunity to go. If you come to EV and Emma is there, you don’t need to be afraid of boring meals. Everyone here agrees on the fact that Emma is the master chef of EV! She makes the best vegan meals, our favorites here are curry and lasagna and we really enjoy her cakes on special occasions.

Why do you love being here / what do you love about EV?

I love living the simple life, being covered in dirt all day and wearing the same 3 outfits over and over again. I don’t have a care in the world, it’s very refreshing.

What do you love about the jungle?

You can never escape nature. Everything is brimming with life (including all the cockroaches). I’ll always be in awe of the beautiful harmony that exists here.

What’s your favourite meal here?

Making pancakes on my days off is one of my favorite activities, the avocados here are also to die for! For dinner I love eating pasta, veggie burgers and anything made out of ingredients we can forage here, like the wild spinach and herbs.

What’s your favourite job/activity?

It’s hard to pick just one favorite job, but I love the work in the clinic and giving the baby monkeys their milk. Any excuse to go to the plantation is also nice to break my day up.

What is your favourite thing to do on a day off?

Usually, I try to spend at least 80% of my day off at the waterfall. Minimum. My tan hasn’t improved but I always leave feeling full of energy and ready for the next day’s work. I also love to cook on my days off so I can take some time to make something nice, food is a huge part of life here.

What is your favourite animal/species?

My favourite species is definitely the night monkeys, they’re just so curious and make the cutest little noises. Kira (our baby night monkey) will always have a special place in my heart.

Which animal you’re most like?

According to our head volunteer Puck- Cumala the spider monkey. She’s calm, observes everything, makes excited noises when food is coming and is very caring .

What do you miss from home?

I miss painting, good tea and cinnamon.

What did you learn during your stay that you would like to take home?

That I don’t need material things to be happy! Everything I have here is falling apart and mouldy, but I couldn’t feel better. When I go home I’ll be much more efficient with food too, I’ve picked up lots of tips to be more sustainable.

What didn’t you expect about EV before coming here?

That I would enjoy organizing messy whiteboards and learning the names of every tortoise here. It’s strange to find out which little things make us all happy.

What is the first thing you buy when we can go to Bello again?

Oreos, there’s nothing more comforting here than to relax in a hammock with a cup of tea and some biscuits.

Why did you choose to stay here instead of going home during this Corona pandemic?

I chose to stay because life continues as normal for the animals, they deserve to have the best care regardless of the crazy things happening in the human world. They still need someone to feed them and clean their cages, and I’m more than happy to do so for as long as I’m needed.

What is the most difficult thing about being here?

Working and living with the same group of people for a long time, especially during the corona panic. It’s very mentally challenging. Emotions are high in such a harsh environment.

How Emma is seen through the other volunteer’s eyes:

  • Manon about Emma: When she arrived, she was really quiet but when you get to know her better, you find out that she’s not shy at all. She has the perfect British accent, she is really funny and really enjoys working with animals, especially with Rafiki. Even if she really loves Rafiki, she will always say that she prefers Kira. But she lies. Our little hippie who can spend 6 hours in the waterfall during her day off. She is definitely the best cook ever in EV!
  • Carmen about Emma: “I need to organise *insert any place in EV*”
  • Zak about Emma: Cooking tekkers, whiteboard writing obsession, veganism, only had love for Kira.
  • Kim about Emma: Vegan buddy, being a very cool hippie, her love for night monkeys (Kira), the waterfall, tortoises, cooking skills & cakes
  • Puck about Emma: My cacao queen, her cooking skills, how she always makes tea for everybody in their favorite mug, her style, her love for things looking neat and tidy. She is a calm, friendly and interesting person.
  • Craig about Emma: Calm collected & driven. Vegan with exceptional culinary skills.
  • Emile about Emma: Absolute master chef. Good taste of music. Quiet. Quite the thinker.

Meet the Corona crew !
Episode 6 : Zak

After 3 months of helping us out in the jungle, Zak unfortunately had to leave due to obligations at home but since Zak was an important part of the ‘Corona Crew’, we would also like to introduce Zak to you!

Zak is 19 years old and comes from England. Even though he really missed his Guinness and gravy from home, he decided to stay at EV during the Corona pandemic. When we asked him why, he said: “I would be in lockdown without being able to see anyone or do anything. I don’t understand why I would want to be there if I could be in a place with monkeys playing on my roof every morning. It’s such an amazing environment to be in!” 

His co-volunteers will remember him for a lot of things but most importantly how he made breakfast for everyone! Scrambled eggs or pancakes might have been waiting for you when you enter the kitchen in the morning. Of course Zak will also be remembered for his love for Alaya, a baby Howler Monkey, and his favorite extra job, the bananas!

What did you love about being at EV?

What I loved about being there is waking up with monkeys playing on the rooftop every morning, post tea (dinner) games and chats, Cumala saying hello every morning, that wildlife is everywhere and I loved cooking with everyone!

What is your favourite meal?

Curry with something extra like samosas or naan bread “nom nom”.

What was your favourite activity/job at EV?

Bananas! Also loved leaf walks.

What was your favourite thing to do on a day off?

Big brekky with other people off, going to Bello Horizonte or to the waterfall – pretty standard.

What was your favourite animal/species?

Howlers- Alaya <3

What did you miss from home?

Guinness, watching cricket on tv.

What did you learn during your stay?

Finding a use for everything: bottle tops for a homemade game, reusing oil for cleaning and rum bottles as a candle holder. It opened my eyes a bit on how things can be used in many different ways, so you have less waste. Also, I learned cooking with limited ingredients.

What didn’t you expect about EV before going there?

The amount of time that I would be using a knife per working day.

Why did you choose to stay at EV instead of going home in this Corona time?

Because I would be in lockdown without being able to see anyone or do anything. I don’t understand why I would want to be there if I could be in a place with monkeys playing on my roof every morning. It’s such an amazing environment to be in!

How Zak is remembered by the other volunteers:

Craig about Zak: resident genius, go to guy for language enquiries and can divide a cake into 15 equal pieces.

Puck about Zak: never complains and works very hard, rocks Carla’s pants, him making scrambled eggs for everybody in the morning, how you can always have a funny/nice/interesting conversation with him.

Emma about Zak: it’s nice to have a reminder of home when you’re so far away from your family, even if he is slowly ruining my English. Always very happy to help, even if I do give him the really horrible jobs when we cook together. I’ll miss our nightly hammock chats, too.

Kim about Zak: being as English as possible, his face when seeing Alaya, taste of music, the red elephant pants, washing his earphones, gravy & Guinness, always checking how you are doing.

Carmen about Zak: “excuse me” “sorry” “thank you”, Guinness, the nicest British/Scottish guy ever, with a perfect accent. He really cares about all the animals and about the other volunteers, he’s always looking for getting to know you better and better. Really funny boy, especially when he dances with Rafiki or when he looks at his girlfriend. When Zak is in a room and you talk about Alaya, his face just lights up.

Emile about Zak: So polite. So helpful. So generous. A really good guy.