Created in 2006 by science journalist Paola Catapano, MINIDARWIN aims at taking groups of children on scientific expeditions coached by real scientists and science communication professionals.

On the occasion of International Year of Biodiversity 2010, theMiniDarwins are ready to leave on their third expedition, to the Amazon Forest, devoted to biodiversity and its socio-economic spin offs. The MiniDarwins will be coached by biodiversity scientists and an ecological socio-economist specialised in ethno-ecology to experience life with an Indigenous population in the Amazon Forest

During the trip, we will publish on this blog a diary of the expedition and some of the photos, videos, interviews and texts we are producing for later publication on our website, book, reportage and documentary film.

13 August 2010


Friday Aug 13

Polina would like to stay here once she becomes a researcher. But no matter how good the food is at the Uakari-lodge, she is beginning to miss mommy’s cooking. « I will only stay here, if I can make hamburgers. » she says. Well, I guess we all feel we’re missing something or someone every now and then. After all, for some of us it has been three weeks since we have left ‘ our near and dear ones’. Maxine would also like to stay here for a while to do research. « Then I could be close to the dolphins everyday, » she says. The boys are not so sure. They want to become engineers and somehow the simple life in the floating house doesn’t seem very attractive to them. But maybe they could apply new sustainable energy systems to life in the rain forest.
Ab is leaving us already. Today he will travel to Suriname, where he will meet his brother for a short holiday. For us, it is also our last day. For the rest of the afternoon we will go fishing once more. Then we have to get packed and ready.
We have got used to the rhythm that life takes here : get up early (6.00), breakfast at 6.30, in the boats at 7.00 for a program in the forest or on the river that takes until 11.00, lunch at 12.00. After lunch we have a ‘ siesta’, just like the local people do here. Simply because it usually  is to hot to be active. Program starts again at 15.30 and lasts until 18.00 with sunset. We have dinner at 19.00 and sometimes a presentation or video screening at 20.00. As you will understand we go to bed early, to feel fit in the morning.
Computer games are banned during the Minidarwin expedition. Protests of the children when their Nintendo DS systems were unpacked before we even left home, could not change this. So they had to find other ways to spend their free time. During ‘siestas’ we have been playing card games. That was fun, although some cards dropped off the table just in between the wood of the boardwalk to the water below, where the caimans are living.  We come from several European countries, so we could teach each other some typical games.
Alberto and Kai learned how to play ‘pesten’ (teasing),  a Dutch game which they call ‘ pest card’ now. One afternoon they have invented their own version of it.

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