I finally had realized that last night like wow, I’m done. No more otters and no more treks. I’m going to miss it so much. I’m tired but my soul is full. Brazil makes my heart happy.
I’m so lucky to make such strong relationships with people here in Brazil that it makes it hard to leave. Priscilla, good luck with becoming a veterinarian. You are good at cooking and I am good at eating. I’ll always laugh when I think of you calling me a bottomless pit in Portuguese. I would be offended if it wasn’t true. Marcelo, your otter tattoo makes me jealous and have fun taking care of Draco, a dog that is like the real-life Scooby doo. Júnior, you inspire me. I promise to make you proud! I think you will always be a teacher and I wish I could always be your student. These are only a few of the people that I have gotten to know and I am also thankful for everyone else!
The Otter Project has taken initiative to protect and conserve otters throughout Brazil and the world. The research conducted at the Otter Project has been influential in getting information about otters. It’s difficult in research to have access to long term data sets. The Otter Project however is providing valuable information about intensity and parasites that has never been found otherwise for many years. Otters are elusive, it’s difficult to see them. Having access to these long-term data sets allows researchers to monitor populations much more effectively and correlate fluctuations to changes in the environment or other factors. This information is also heavily used with the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
I have learned a lot about myself, wildlife and people through this internship. Many times, people have opened my eyes to new possibilities. Why can’t I drink tea in a bowl? Or why do I say I’m going to the bathroom instead I am going to the toilet (what if the toilet is in a different place than the bathroom, I have never thought about this possibility)? I feel liberated and I am questioning everything that was normal. I never realized how strange my normal was until a person from a different culture pointed it out. It was not strange to me, it’s just the way I have always done it. Completing this internship has also reassured me that I am passionate about working with wildlife internationally and that I can do it. I am going to continue to pursue a career working with international wildlife. I’m not sure where I will go next but I know I will be happy and that will be enough.
It’s not the end but only the beginning,
|I celebrated my 21st birthday on Wednesday with chocolate cake, friends and caipirinha (the national cocktail of Brazil).|
|We celebrated my last diner at the Otter Project with mussels from the local fisherman.|