Every morning when I arrive on the wildlife conservation section of the island based in La Ventanilla, I am greeted without fail by my mentor Guillermo. Using a mix of gestures and slowing down his Spanish so that I could comprehend what he wants me to do, I follow him to clear out the animal pens. A task Guillermo deliberately set up so that I wouldn’t be working in the direct sunlight.
This gentleman has been an advisor and mentor since my arrival. Originally from Mexico city, his main occupation is to take care of the deer on the island known in Spanish as ‘Venado cola blanca’. While the adult deer show no fear of me and stroll past as I clean the pens, the babies hide in the trunks of the tree out of sight. The animals are cared for on the island and have become popular with visiting tourists. It is one of the more serene projects that I have worked on since my arrival, with deer and Guilermo for company, a respite from the heat, noise and macho culture that surrounds me outside the deer pen.