Monthly Archives: April 2017

//April

The Cost of Illiteracy and Alcohol

A tiny enclosed home sits off the sidewalk that borders the large central soccer field that is the main feature of El Chino, one of a number of small river towns on the Tahuayo River, about twelve hours by river bus from Iquitos, Peru. Deep in the Amazon, these towns were once thriving centers, until [...]

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The Cost of Carelessness

The local shamans of the forest are dying out. Most are in their sixties, as is Adolfo of El Chino, a small village of some 200 people on the Tahuayo River in the Peruvian Amazon. Adolfo, and Pasquala, the ancient shaman and mother-in-law of one of the village’s female leaders, are herbalists, spiritualists and people [...]

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The Artisan Center

As you putter towards Iquitos on the TahuayoRiver,just a few minutes from the lodge of same name, the water is glassy and smooth. Dark clouds loom overhead, the temperature is low for this time of year. The waters are beginning to rise slowly as spring approaches. On both banks there are signs of heavy erosion [...]

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Norma Torres Rojas

Norma Rojas loves to work. It’s in her DNA. Her deep brown skin and high cheekbones declare her strong heritage. She is quick to smile broadly, her back is straight and strong. She’s never known anything but work. Yet once she had a dream to be a nurse. Norma grew up one of the daughters [...]

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Life’s Realities

Robert sprinted down the path in the waning afternoon light frantically searching for Dolly. I could see him over Ruth’s head as she and Dolly were reading her school books. The young man looked desperate. Finally he spotted us, and climbed the stairs, winded. He looked exhausted. Dolly Beaver was his goal. Dolly and I [...]

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Faith vs. Facts

The family was desperate. Papa was dying, they said. What had begun as a small cyst in in his left lower back had grown until it now affected his belly. It had been there for six months. Treatment after treatment from one shaman after another had not helped. He was in terrible pain. The infection [...]

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Estelita Loayza Ijuma

Estelita’s warm brown skin shines in the warmth of the Amazonian day, although we are cooled by the breezes that waft through the huge Artesan Center that she and the artisan members helped build. Her round face and bright eyes are framed by short, spiky hair. At times her expressive face quiets. Her eyes redden [...]

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El Chino

The small village of El Chino, located deep in the Amazon on the Tahuayo River, was once a place of good hunting and fishing, some twelve hours by river bus out of Iquitos, Peru. El Chino enjoys several different histories. One version is that about 130 years ago, a man with Asian features (common to [...]

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Clinical Realities

I held my filthy hands out over the railings, the dirt smeared with fragrant purple hand soap. The nurse, Cristiana, poured precious clean water from a bottle taken from the maternity/birthing room over my hands, and the dirt flowed away. I thanked her and returned to the waiting room, where a cranky but beautiful red [...]

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Buena Vista

Just downriver from the small town of El Chino is Buena Vista, a nearly deserted town of just seven families. Once one of a number of thriving and economically successful villages on this part of the Amazon, the increased dangerous high floods of recent years have resulted in a number of families’ moving away. The [...]

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