R i t a   M e s q u i t a ’ s   B i o g r a p h y

Sometimes I remember my life in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, with over 3 million inhabitants, as part of a movie, something like somebody else’s life. So, I guess for quite some time now all that I consider recollections of my own life have happened here, in the heart of the Amazon. I graduated in Biology in 1985; I remember it was a sunny Saturday, and less than 24 hours later I was flying for the first time ever, coming to the Amazon. I was 23 then, and it has been 13 years now, and counting. Many times, when I think about my daily life here, it is like being on a stage, the place where everything is happening. I’ve travelled enough to know many nice places (like New Orleans, Florence, Borneo, and South Africa). But I cannot think of any other place where I’d rather be. So, I guess I’m happy here.

I came to Manaus as an intern in the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project to work as a bird- bander, mist-netting forest understory birds. We caught the birds, and, after identifying, banding, and measuring them, we released them back to the forest. If it started raining while the birds were hanging in the nets, we had to rush and get them out, because they would get wet and cold (yes, believe it or not, some could die of hypothermia!) So, to keep them warm and alive, we would stuff them under our arm pits, or keep them in contact with our head lamps turned on. It worked most of the time. In those days life was harder in our camps, but at the same time it seems like it was easier to be in the forest, everything was much simpler.

Rita’s Journal Rita Mesquita’s Biography    1     2     3