I arrived in Leticia two weeks ago. I had a nasty head cold for the first week, so I’ve just gotten to Amacayacu National Park. I start at seven tomorrow morning teaching Charlie and Luis, plus a other few other hombres from the Mocaqua community up the river a bit. Time here depends on weather, work, and a variety of other factors, so nothing is very definite. It rains everyday. The director of the park says it shouldn’t be because it is the dry season. She agrees that global warming has caused the difference. The water level is rising, too. It will mean life changes for so many people.
Leticia is a frontier town in the Amazon bordering Peru and Brazil. There’s a strong army presence to keep the illegal drug and animal trade to a minimum. I laughed watching the beautiful golden retriever jumping around on the convayer belt sniffing our luggage when it was unloaded from the Lan flight. But I don’t think serious real traffickers transport on commercial airlines. To me, the drug dealers are the scourge of the earth.
The motor cycle seems to be the preferred mode of transportation to get around town. I cringe seeing small babies and children riding sans helmets, but that’s just me.Back in the day my kids didn’t have regulation car seats, or wouldn’t have had to wear helmets either. I have to remind myself to observe in perspective.
Leticia is bustling. It has an excellent bakery, and I ate my first piranna from a cart parked on a corner near the port. It was served with yucca and rice, and absolutely delicious. I haven’t seen any homeless here, and it seems that even the scrawniest of bent-over grandmothers wields a mean broom, and tends a bucket garden.
Folks are friendly and helpful. So far I have taught about 6 classes. I have two teenage students each morning, and several workers from the park who come to the Entropika office each afternoon.
The park has wifi but i still can’t download photos. I’m going to have to do it at a cafe, if it’s to be done at all. What a mess. I tried to buy a usb port, but apparently Claro, the phone company has no more space in Leticia. How can there not be more virtual space to purchase? It’s vitural! It should be unlimited for gods sake.
Flying over the Amazon, I wasn’t prepared for the expanse of forest. First it was gray/green with spotty clouds, but as the plane flew a bit lower, it became verdant and seemed to be impenetrable, although I realize it isn’t. I could see The Rio. I wanted to jump and tell the others on board, ” Hey look! that’s the Amazon River and the rain forest.!” But they already knew that.
When I saw the Rio Amazon, it took my breath away. Its wide and spacious, not held in by concrete or large buildings. As it should be, it’s edged with mud. In places it’s difficult to see the edges and gives the illusion it might be a lake. Moreover, at least on the small section I traveled, unlike the muddy, chocolate water of the Yangtze in China, the Amazon is blue! On the two hour trip here, I saw only a few small boats heading in the other direction. Scattered along every few miles, were small huts built on stilts perched on top of the bank, A few folks worked outside, and children waving to our fast boat from the muddy bank. Occasional wooden canoe type boats were tied to stakes driven into the top soil, with a line staked straight down to it on the river’s edge. It must be difficult to make even a minimal living, and to be so isolated. I can’t imagine where the kids go to school. The river will rise more than fifteen yards in the next few months.
At the park for a few months are several young students from SINCHI, a Eco-biological Research Institute.they count flora and fauna. I’ve seen some gorgeous birds, but no monos. . . I’ll keep you posted. Such as it is, I have wifi until Sunday!!