Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A tree went down at Yachana Lodge and ...

During the rainy night (it is a rain forest, you know), a tree -- a rather large specimen from the forest -- fell down close to our cabin, but we never heard it.  No major damage was done and a workman had it mostly cleaned up when we were out inspecting the jungle.  We started this rain forest inspection by watching the pygmy monkeys enticed with a banana so as not to scurry away.  Juan also exhibited his skill with his telescope, and we would see this skill repeatedly throughout the day when he would find birds and frogs that we gringos simply did not see.  We crossed the river, and Juan explained to us the diverse plant life.  This immense diversity cannot be shown in the few photos below, but the huge Kapok tree with its huge buttresses was of special interest.  The fiber of the Kapok seed pod was once used in life jackets, and Juan showed how the fiber was used with the blowgun darts (see pics below).  

A visit to a local shaman was next on the agenda, and Juan provided a thoughtful explanation about the belief system of the local people and that “if you believe- good things can happen.”   Julie was “cleansed" by the Shaman, we tried the blowgun (Julie and Randall “killed” the wooden parrot), we tried the spears (no one came even close!), and then we headed back across the river to the village of MondaƱa.   

The high school sponsored by the Yachana Foundation was going on “break” for ten days, so many of the 75 students were returning to their home provinces for that break.  A graduation ceremony had been held in the morning; many families were present, and students were all dressed up.   Beyond the educational agenda, the school requires the students to participate in various “hands-on” activities to help sustain the school.  These activities include growing snails, pigs, chickens, butterflies, vegetables, etc. 

After a walk through the community, we returned to the lodge eager for lunch (but that is another blog entry.) 
Four cabins per building, each cabin with a shower and bath, 120 volt electricity from 6 PM to 10 PM, otherwise LED lights powered by solar and batteries is available
What happened here?  Good thing no building was hit.
Three of the smallest monkeys in the world clustered around a banana.  The picture was taken through Juan's telescope.
Juan with his two tools - scope and machete - explaining one of many plants.
Juan showing a cacao pod.
The huge kapok tree with its buttresses was so impressive.
Harold on the left and the local shaman on the right.
Juan giving a thoughtful discourse on modern medicine versus "shamanism".
Julie receiving a general cleansing.
Randall nailed the target which was a wooden parrot.
Harold tried spear throwing to no avail.
Julie applies caution on the bamboo bridge.
Juan shows the source of the red dye used by the Amazonians.
The walking palm tree that is used to make the blowguns.
The campus of the high school.
One of the endeavors by the students of the high school - a snail farm.

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