Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Co-pilot is better than walking

I cannot tell you how nice it was to start my first jungle trip (Jan 23rd to 27th ) in a Cessna 206 for half an hour. A Mission Aviation Pilot named Chad flew us to Iñyau near the Pastaza river in the jungle of Ecuador. I tried to find it on the map for a reference for all of you, but I could not find it. If you have Google Earth, the GPS points are “S 02-09.722”, “W 77-29.082”. As many of you know, just before I left for this trip I hurt my back playing Ultimate Frisbee with a group of missionaries. I almost did not make the trip, but I am really glad I went anyway. I have to admit that it took until Thursday before I could stand up straight. I really missed my brother the chiropractor at this moment (don’t tell him I said so).

The people of Iñayu were very friendly and took great care of us. Part of the arrangement with HCJB Global is that the community provide food and water to the team while we are helping in the village. We ate well, but what we ate will be a mystery for years to come.

Typical living arrangements - wood houses or grass huts

First the people: about 20 families lived there and they were considered very progressive. They already had a captured spring, a water tower made of logs and a complete distribution system to each house. The solar pump brought water from the captured spring to the tower for distribution. Their trouble was the tower was rotting and falling down and they wanted a better design with more storage capacity. I was impressed by their willingness to work, the progress they had already made with water and their resolve to improve. I have little doubt that this community will complete the task at hand.

Failing water tower for water distribution system

I met a bunch of new friends, not the least of which was Herman. Herman is about 6 years old and very fun. His parents (Herman and Gabriella) were extremely nice and wonderful people. She was 24 years old, had five kids with the sixth on the way. Her oldest was 9 years old. You can do the math, but this is pretty typical in the jungle.

HCJB Global had invited three students from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan to come down and work on their senior design project. Bret, Travis and Josiah came with eyes wide open and a willing heart to gather information to make the project possible. They were fun to work with and adventurous.

We stayed three nights in the village of Iñayu in a wood sided school with a new tin roof. It was very nice and I would be glad to return there anytime.

Our sleeping arrangements - bug huts saved the day and night!

One of the most fun pastimes was taking pictures of the kids. Each kid wanted his picture taken and then rushed, I mean pushed shoved and clawed, to see his image captured on the back of the camera. They thought that was the most fun ever.

Water fall at Iñayu


Did you know the jungle rule of thumb? Every minute in a small airplane is equivalent to one hours walk on the ground.


  1. lovely! following your journey..God bless

  2. great to hear the difference MAF can contrubte to in your area!

  3. this is quite adventure ànd useful/ the closest i'll get to Equador i reckon for a while is a tiny lady named Imelda living in Brussels, worked with her at the 'Poverello' cheap grub for the marginalised and homeless here in the north of the country


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