Jun

28

AmazonCitizens of Amazon towns find support in what the jungle offers. It breaks down to fish, yucca, watermelon, oranges, and various vegetables. Ninety percent of the population specializes in one of these items to find or grow well and large. They feed their families and carry the bulk by wheelbarrow or boat to the ubiquitous central market, a one street bazaar of fly-covered rickety stands to offer these items. The other 10% of the population finds support in common professions including woodcutting, driving a 125cc motorcycle taxi or similar canoe taxi, a tiny grocery or hardware store, furniture maker, cafe or hotel owner, and so on. The young people work as delivery boys (photo), waitresses, clerks, street cleaners and the like for a daily $4 that goes a long way in a jungle town. Surrounding any jungle town (off by a few hours walk) are pueblitos, or little towns, of 20 families who fish and grow what they need and bring the rest to market.

The overview is these river towns and villages are a fish economy, and daily triple-decker boats drop off a dozen 100 kilo bags of salt in trade for 10ft. tall crates of a hundred species of fish for downriver consumption. Yesterday I hitched a canoe across the half-mile river and walked a muddy track one hour to the pueblito Comandillo perched on a stream. A barefoot tyke fell in stride on the return and became my paid guide identifying birds and animals. Later waiting on shore for a canoe to regress to town, the mother joined us with a basket of four 5-pound fish balanced on her head. I paid their fare across the river where she climbed mud stairs to the central market and in five minutes sold the batch for $3, a windfall. She grinned so I asked her for a massage as the tyke wandered the stands. There is no want of food, or for the working person, money, in a jungle town like Requena, Peru (photo) or a thousand others. There is more to eat than I had as a happy kid, and far more to do each minute.


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