Sunday, October 21, 2012

A trip on the Amazon.

Iquitos, Peru may not look that far from Shell on the map and there’s a reason for that.  It’s not.  But let me tell you, it’s not that easy to get there from here.

Last week I had the privilege of going 7 hours up river on the Amazon from Iquitos, Peru by a small boat as a guest of Water Missions International.  Their office in Peru invited us to a dedication ceremony of their newest installation of the above ground 10,000 gallon per day system they have perfected.  I went with Alfredo and Adeline from out HCJB Community Development office here in Shell to determine if the filters would be an appropriate technology for the jungles of Ecuador.

Motor Taxis typical in Peru and Southern Ecuador

Alfredo while waiting for the police clearance for our van

Palace of the President - Lima Peru
The trip was long, longer and even longer than I desired.  We traveled 7 hours by car to Machalla, Ecuador, 8 hours by bus to Puira, Peru, flew 1.5 hours to Lima, flew from Lima to Iquitos and finally by boat to Requena (-5.060252,-73.852086)  with our final destination as “Monte Sinai” in the jungles of Peru.  I tried to find the village we visited on the map, but it was not there.  Its roughly 1.5 hours (40 miles) up river from Requena.  If this sounds messy to you, I will skip the half of it.  It took 3 full days of travel one way to arrive at our destination and 3 more days to get home – but it was well worth it.

Lumber mill at Requena, Peru

Typical transportation - hand dug out canoe with Honda "outboard"

Look for the High water mark about 1/2 way up the tree

Water Missions and Rotary inauguration in Monte Sinai
 We were able to see the filter in context of the community and we were pleasantly surprised on the overall development of the jungles of Peru.  With the Amazon and hundreds of navigable rivers that feed the Amazon, the “jungles” of Peru are not nearly as remote as those of Ecuador.  Cheap river transportation has allowed goods to be transported to Iquitos and sold at the market.  Commerce has brought electricity, cement, metal and telephones (cellular) to many remote places that would never have had anything in the past.

The technology of Water Missions was a perfect fit for the local people of Peru.  Water Missions and Rotary have partnered together to bring government, local business people and water filters together in a powerful mix.  
Sunset over a branch of the Amazon at Requena, Peru
On a side note, the Amazon was amazing.  The river is huge, maybe ¾ of a mile wide at the beginning.  Both rivers that merge just above Iquitos are each as large as the Mississippi.  We saw lots of boats, barges, dugout canoes and every type of craft that floats.    The most interesting item was their “outboard” motors made from Honda 4 cycle standard engines. 

Alfredo and Adeline on our fast boat on the Amazon
Our transportation from Iquitos to Requena to Monte Sinai and back

Push tugs on the Amazon

15 hp Improvised Honda to make it into an outboard motor

I am glad that God allowed us to see these filters in action and I hope we are able to get two (2) filters here in Shell.  One for the hospital and one for Emergency response for Ecuador.  If you would like to help that happen, please let me know and I will send you more information.

I say often to nearly everyone I meet: Come to Shell with your group to experience life in Shell, see for yourself what God has going on here and return to your home changed.  Allow God to expand your world view, alter your “normal” and allow your heart to break with the things that break His heart.

The jungles of Ecuador may not be the same as Peru, but both are filled with Gods children, endless opportunities to get involved from your living room and so much more.

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