V: Village on the Amazon River
There are several villages in the area we visited, where the local riberenos of the Pacama tribe live on the banks of the Amazon river. The guides try to schedule visits to different villages for their various tour groups. We visited the Pacama Village on the Nahuapa River.
La Turmalina cruised slowly along, quite close to the river banks till we reached the village to which our visit had been arranged. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain. The ground was very muddy and despite my long but unwieldy poncho I got very wet. As it was also hot, it was a bit like being inside a steam room. Hot and steamy and soaking.
The huts were all built up on stilts to prevent flooding when the river is high. We were told that over the course of a year the level of the river may differ as much as 40 feet.
At the time we were visiting, the river was rising and was about midway to its highest point. As we cruised along we could often make out the high water marks on the trunks of the trees lining the river banks.
The villagers had made special preparations for our visit. We paid a visit to the aged chief of the village where we listened via translation to some Amazonian tall tales.
Robinson led the children in singing and playing games that introduced them and also introduced their visitors, and let them compete to answer questions and win some of the small prizes J-C and R-P had bought with the money we donated.
Following this event we had an opportunity to purchase some of the local crafts before returning to the ship.
If you plan a trip to this area, or similar, it is always appreciated if you bring donations of materials such as pencils, notebooks and other school items. Interestingly the children were not just given items but had to earn them by answering questions or participating in some way. The objective is to prevent the kids developing a culture of dependency and instead encourage responsibility and effort.