02 Jul Strengthening Partnerships in the Peruvian Amazon
Written by Mikel, Program Leader, Peru Amazon Adventure 2014
After a ram-jammed four weeks of Bristol stool charts, Gorilla mountains, chicken boats, frisky monkeys, snakes, jungle boys and dentists called Carlos, two youth centers and a powerful start to a future community library, the Early Summer Amazon Adventure program is seeing its autumn turn as the projects are wrapped up and the eclectic and ever surprising young volunteers have parted ways (and then found each other again and then gone on more adventures) for their independent travel times. Within this time they’ve been scaling mountains, discovering Ecuador, learning to surf and testing out all the vital backpacker skills we’ve cultivated with them over the past month and a bit. It’s been an eventful adventure to say the least, which has left us Program Leaders desperately in need of minor hibernation. But like the ever soaring Pheonix that dwells deep within us, we have awoken more excitable, stronger and even more ready to talk about your poop than anybody could ever have imagined.
The summer so far has not been without its surprises, be it a chicken boat fiasco encountered in the port town: Yurimaguas, the tediously decreasing flood levels within El Porvenir school or fallen paint buckets sinking to the murky Pampachica floor. With such a fit and enthusiastic group of young travellers however, nothing has gotten in our way, even our occasionally questionable Spanish.
Working in Pampachica for the fourth year in a row, Operation Groundswell has been able to fulfill and extend their commitment to the Asentamiento Humano, strengthening our ties with our partner organization KALLPA to facilitate their future goals and focal points within the community in the coming years. Together, we strongly believe that, in what has now become an extensive and well connected wider community in Pampachica, our most important outreach in the area is to the children and young people who can carry their community towards further development and progress in the coming years. Their voices will soon be the most powerful within their community where many are at risk of physical, sexual and drug abuse. To empower these young people, we have worked with them under guidance of some of the area’s most committed elders to finalise construction on two youth centres in Paisaje Ivan and Agauje, as well as beginning our endeavours to build a visual learning centre and library in the local school.
Now, we look towards a tearful goodbye with this summer’s first OG protégés and striving on to fulfill our commitments to the humble communities of Pampachica, Iquitos.
“The first thing we must learn to do is listen. Once we have done this we will be able to hear each-other’s voices and views and begin to fulfill them.” – Marco Antonio Chavez-Kurinuki, 19, from El Porvenir, Pampachica