Monday, January 18, 2016

Day Thirteen: The Boat Trip!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Our whole morning was consumed by packing for our short boat trip.  This endeavor is good practice for the not-too-far-off day when we have to pack up and leave Anã for good (at least for this trip).  Everyone dutifully took car of his or her own bags and packed the smallest possible amount of stuff for their personal use (but the largest possible quantity of swimsuits).  We then gathered the group items, including first aid, technology needs, extra food (including lots and lots of Clif Bars – our main snack) and many other bits and pieces of things that might come in handy. 

Before we left, Jesse and Cooper went out in the community to check out a stockpile of lumber that we heard might be available to our chicken coop project.  They learned that there is enough to build at least 75 roosting areas, which would be a great start.  Now that we have a bit of extra time when we get back, we might well get this project farther than we expected.  We have to come up with a roofing material that isn’t too hot (like tin) or too labor intensive (like thatch) or too expensive (like other corrugated materials), as we have to protect the chickens from the Amazon sun.  We might have a lead on something that will work but now we have to put in enormous effort to get it where it needs to be before we leave the area.  Cross your fingers!!

But as we think about completing the chicken coop, we still want to go on our excursion to other parts of the region.  The purpose of our trip is to visit some of the other communities that have similar aspirations to Anã’s and learn about their approach to improving their communities in respectful and sustainable ways.  Each community develops a few specialties (enterprises or craft styles or nature features) and then tries to figure out how to work with different tourism agencies to draw visitors. 

Today we are visiting Atodí, where there is a large swath of primary forest up above the community.   This evening we watched a demo of the processing of manioc, which you all know is a dietary staple here.  There is a huge process involved in getting the manioc from its root vegetable state to flour, and then that flour is processed into all kinds of other things.  We all got to get our hands on the manioc when it was being toasted on a huge outdoor oven, tossing it with wooden paddles to keep it from burning. 

We ate a fabulous dinner on the boat cooked by our friends Louro and Dona Maria.  The fish that was the center of it all, pirarucu, tasted like pulled pork.  We could barely stop eating no matter how full we got.  We are loving life out on the river already and we haven’t even been out here a whole day yet.  We hope you are reading this because it is being posted from the roof of the boat, but we have to finish writing it to find out.  Keep an eye out for more posts and pics!

 Steve and Carlos trying to out smart each other in a game of magnetic chess on board the boat.

Jesse argues with a cashew fruit.

 Diorlando helps Phil and Dan from the beach to the larger boat.

 We found a few star fish! Claudia and Jules relax on the sand bar. 

While visiting Atodi, some of the community members demonstrated how farinha (a common food item made from manioc) is made.

At the same location Robert, Ari and Cam are sifting the dried manioc to form small pieces that will then be cooked. 

Here, they show us how to scald and then roast the farinha to become crunchy and nutty. 

 The first group of students including Cameron, Annie, and Marlina hits land at the village of Atodi.

 A look at how farinha is made from the mantioc plant in the community of Atodi.

 Daniel and Phil laugh while playing Scum — a card game that has become popular in our group. 

 Docking into paradise, AKA Ponta Grande. This sand bar stretches for hundreds of meters with some of the best views of the trip. 

The Anauê has been our home for the last day and a half. It’s close quarters, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Callan and Suze enjoying a short stop at Ponta Grande, a sand bar off the Tapajós river.


  1. Sounds like the food and fish are tasty!

  2. Great news and update Robert! Hey world traveler-with this trip and the choir one, that's 3-continents before you're 21! Trying to catch them all? Be careful out there!
    Dina Luna

  3. Glad Robert that you are having such a great time and experiencing new amazing things. Take lots of pixs so we can feel like we were there with you. Take care and keep safe. Carmen Chavez

  4. Sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime. Robert is so special. May our Lord continue to protect my cousin Robert & all the volunteers. God Bless him for what he's doing. Love your Cuz Rosemary Gomez

  5. Robert, What a fabulous opportunity ur experiencing right now. Keep sending the updates, I enjoy reading them. Be safe and be careful! David Rodriguez

  6. My Leah! It was wonderful talking with you last night and you sounded so close, yet so far away. Your dad and I were crowded around my little cell phone with the speaker phone on and you'd think we were talking to President Obama or GOD the way we were acting! We were so excited to finally hear from you and letting you know we have been following every post, picture and word as we see them! Papa and Grandma get updates every few days from me and we can't wait until your return to us. Mama & Daddy

  7. Hi from Canada. Jules It was great hearing your voice. Sounds like a great time down there on The Amazon. Keep up the good work. We are very proud of you all. The blogs, videos and pictures are great. Love Mom and Dad.

  8. Arianna, it was great to hear your voice and to know you are doing much better after your encounter with the mantarraya. Your call was such a welcome surprise. It totally made our day. Soak it all in Mija. We can't wait to see all the pictures and hear the stories of your adventures.
    Your Madre and Father

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