It’s day two here of our incredible stay in the Boca Pariamanu community. The Peruvian rainforest has so far proven to be a warm and welcoming place. In two short days, we have learned and seen so many new things. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to interact with a brand new community in an ecosystem unlike any we’ve set foot in before? Yesterday, we traveled via chalupas, small motor powered boats. It felt like we were in a movie as we sped through a murky brown river surrounded by the intensely green and beautiful jungle. On this boat ride, we met our guide Juan Carlos and boatman named Calixto. After our arrival, Juan Carlos gave us a charla on the region where we’re staying. We discussed the rainforest and the measures taken by NGOs and other organizations to preserve it.
We’re beginning to settle into life in the jungle. After a delicious breakfast this morning, prepared by our local chefs Rosalie, Moni, and Kevin, we separated into groups and set out to harvest fruits and vegetables to prepare for lunch. Sierra and I were paired up with one of our guides, Chris Kirby, an English botanist with years of experience in the Amazon and loads of stories to share. We visited the home of Don Artidoro to help him harvest his yuca, cacao, copazu, and bananas. Getting the yuca out of the ground was a challenge at first, but Don Artidoro showed us his technique of wedging a wooden rod underneath the yuca tree’s roots and rocking it back and forth to loosen up the surrounding dirt. It seemed like Don Artidoro had a special trick for everything we harvested. On top of his vast agricultural knowledge, he expertly handled his machete, slicing away at jungle underbrush and peeling fruit with one quick swipe. Without his help, we never would have finished as fast as we did.
We were lucky enough to try some of the fruits that we picked. When we tried the cacao, we expected to taste something similar to chocolate, so we were surprised to find that the white outer layer of pulp on the seeds actually tastes very tangy and sweet. Afterwards, we chewed caña (sugarcane) and rested before completing the harvest. At around 11 o’clock in the morning, we wheelbarrowed the produce back to the maloca (native meeting house) to wash it. Another group was out harvesting corn which means that we’ll be eating tamales for dinner!
Enjoy these photos of our second day in the Amazon (and of Nico and Luca trying their best to sabotage our jungle yak). We are having a great time.
– Sierra and Henry