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Rio Abiseo

Juanjui, Peru

Just returned from two days in the Parque Nacional del Rio Abiseo on the edge of the Peruvian Amazon. Traveled by motorized boat upstream on three different rivers (there are no roads) for about 3 and a half hours with a group of sixth grade kids who were chosen for a new environmental educational program of the park.

I'm here in Juanjui on a project with A Rocha Peru to develop relationships with park staff and to assess needs and opportunities for educating people living around the park about environmental consequences of harmful activities and other threats (e.g. mining concessions) to the park. In addition, A Rocha wants to appeal to Christians to care for the nature around us as a demonstration of our love for God's work and obedience to His will.

In the Rio Abiseo park, I did a lot of hiking with the kids on a trail to identify trees, and on others to a cave, a slot canyon to swim, and a waterfall. From talking with the park wardens, I learned about the risks to the forest and the economic development needs and plans of the park, e.g. for ecotourism. At the park I was accompanied and helped with translation by Isabel, a friend of Alex's from Switzerland but living with her husband Andres in Juanjui.

Before this on Monday, Jose, Angela, Alex and I were given a tour of the sights around Tarapoto by a airport security officer Jose met when he picked me up at the airport on Saturday.

Then early Tuesday morning, I traveled with Alex and his mother (who had just arrived from Lima) about 3 hours from Tarapoto to Juanjui. Alex and I met with the staff at INRENA, the natural resources department of Peru, and made plans for the Rio Abiseo trip. Later that afternoon, a friend of Alex's named Roldan showed me around his farm where he grows cacao, many kinds of tropical fruit trees, trees for wood and medicinal plants. When driving his motorbike to the farm, Alex crashed on a rough dirt road and suffered a deep puncture wound. He's been walking with a limp but is better now.

I've been staying at Alex and his wife Nataly's house, which is close to the center of Juanjui behind one of the pharmacies his wife manages.

permalink written by  cjones on December 14, 2007 from Juanjui, Peru
from the travel blog: so-journ
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