With school finished forever, it is time to start preparing for the next adventure.
In about 45 days from now, I will be starting the 4500 mile journey across the Atlantic to my new home, somewhere deep in the Guyanese Rainforest. This rainforest is said to be one of the most unexplored and unspoilt in the world, with thousands of unknown species of plants and animals; vast areas of uncharted land, broken up by countless rivers, creeks and waterfalls; and virtually no sign of human inhabitance.
I have started watching a BBC series called "Lost Land of the Jaguar", about an expedition to Guyana to explore its wildlife, from army ants and enormous spiders to giant otters and 8-foot anacondas. It has taught me what not to do, such as put your hand inside rotten trees or holes in the ground, swim too far away from the bank (in case of caiman or piranha), abseil down Kaieteur Falls, or leave your food out at night for the crickets. Despite the nasty looking insect bites I can't wait to be there myself. It is an alien world to me, with endless new things to discover and learn.
We had to buy the DVD to watch the program (from 2008) but you can still read about it here or see a few clips from it here.
The Guyanese rainforest is not only important to the few people who live in it, it is of course a vital part of the world's ecosystem, a major influence of the world's climate, and one of the world's few resources yet to be fully exploited. For a poor country such as Guyana, the temptation to bring in much needed money through logging is high, and very little of the forest is protected. Despite some attempts by western countries to invest in sustainable development in Guyana in return for limiting carbon emissions from deforestation, the rate at which the country's 18.5 million hectares of forest is being destroyed continues to increase.
It is worrying to think that time is running out, if you want to see the world's great wildernesses, that sooner or later mankind may have sawed and drilled and dug its way into every corner of the globe, on its constant search for wealth to feed its growing consumer population. I truly hope that there is some way we can learn to live more sustainably, therefore making it possible to leave some parts of the globe to themselves, giving other species room to breathe.
I am excited to count down the days until I go to Guyana, because of the wilderness of its forest and the remoteness of the people within it. It would be unfair for the next generation if they had to count down the days until these things were destroyed.