Seriously, I've never been to a place quite like this zoo. Every day something new happens that would likely result in a normal zoo being closed down by whatever authorities oversee these things, but in Cusco there is no such oversight. Anyway, this morning we had 2 separate incidents of monkeys escaping from their cages. In one instance, we look up to see a full size spider monkey swinging from the condor cages. As the zoo administrator tries to coax the monkey down by tempting him with some bread, she asks me to grab the toucan. I guess she was worried that the monkey might grab the toucan and kill it so I grabbed some loose clothing lying around (the old clothes are used for the animals to sleep with and to cover the cages from the sun) and cover up the toucan (you can't catch the toucan if she can see you). Once covered, I pick her up and take her to her cage. All the while, one of the other zoo keepers somehow convinced the spider monkey to jump into his arms, at which point he took him back to his cage and disaster was averted.
Later, we start our daily responsibilities of cleaning some of the animal cages. We're supposed to clean out any excess food, and pull out the loose clothes that are left in the cages overnight. Sometimes the animals crawl inside the clothes and make it difficult to pull them out without letting them loose. Today, I'm cleaning out some random animals cage and he's not visible so I'm assuming he's hidden in the clothes and so I'm trying to be a little extra careful. After pulling out a few pieces of clothes, it quickly becomes apparent that the cage is empty...the animal has apparently escaped in the night!!! We of course alert the zoo administrator, who doesn't really seem that worried. By 11:30a when we left it was still unclear if the animal was ever found...oh well!
Finally, Friday is apparently "meat day" because next thing we know some random guy is walking in with a side of beef draped over his shoulder. He literally has a huge chunk of meat about the size of a 10 year old boy, hanging over his clothes...no protection, no gloves, no nothing. After he deposits the meat in one of the back rooms, for some reason he insists on shaking all of our hands. Keep in mind that he has raw meat literally all over him...thanks goodness we were all wearing gloves. I gather someone else comes in later in the afternoon to hack the meat up to give it to the animals!
Next week we're back at the orphanage, but the zoo will never be far from our thoughts. We'll miss it's non-stop entertainment and look forward to volunteering there again in 2 weeks.