Wednesday, January 30, 2019

From the deep jungle to the bright lights and big city

A trip to Bogota with two of the students (and one parent) from the scholarship program.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible.  Jhon Carlos, Stefanie, and her father visited the capital city of Colombia, Bogota. While there, we went to the museum Maloka and other spots of interest. Maloka is one of the best science and technology museums in the country!

We wanted Jhon and Stefanie to experience the city and what the world has to offer and to be able to see the possibilities of life beyond their village. We wanted them to have more reasons to study and to excel in school.

Our trip started Friday morning.  Gustavo and the kids left at 4 in the morning.  They caught a small boat to the jungle city of Leticia.  This was less expensive than a speed boat, and it allowed them to go to Leticia earlier to buy things.  The plan was for me to take the speed boat and to meet them at 9 am at the port of Leticia.  However, things do not always work as planned in the Amazon!

Gustavo's sons and nephews waiting with me for the boat.

Unfortunately, the speedboats at 8 am AND 10 am were all booked.  No room for me!  I had to wait for the 2 pm boat downriver.  I called and made a reserving to guarantee a spot on board.  By 3 pm I arrived at the docks of Leticia.

The "barco rapido".  They take about an hour to go from La Libertad to Leticia.
There are three different boat companies which operate on the river.  They are known as the "red", "green", and "blue" lines.  This is based on the color of the boats.  Each company runs their boats on a rotating, three-day schedule.  Today the blue line picked me up.
Don Felino, in the red cap, at the front desk of the hotel.
Once in Leticia, I connected with Gustavo and the kids.  We got something to eat and then checked into my favorite hotel in Leticia, Hotel Fernando Real.

Stop by here for the best chicken in the city!
After running some errands, we met with Freddy from Funmiroca, our partner organization in Leticia.  We had dinner at Cali Pollos at the corner of the main street by our hotel.

We flew with Avianca airlines.
This was the first time any of the kids or Gustavo had ever been in a plane.  While they looked a little worried when the plane was taking off, they soon forgot their fears and got excited when looking out the windows at 10,000 feet!

Stefanie and Gustavo in their seats before takeoff.
The ride was two hours long.  They were impressed that we each had a video screen to play games and to watch movies.  The free beverage and snack service was also a welcomed surprise.
Waiting for our luggage.

The airport was the largest building they had ever been in.  They constantly stopped to look around at different things.  In Bogota, they got the first ever experience of a cold climate.  We were met at the doors leaving the airport by friends of ours who live in the city.  Thankfully, they met us with some warm clothing.

Gustavo rides a moving sidewalk for the first time.  He jumped on it at first and almost fell!
That day we went to the north of the city to stay at my apartment in the barrio of Suba.  After fighting with a bit of traffic, we arrived just before sundown.

The view outside of my window in La Pradera de Suba.
After preparing one of my favorite dinners, hamburgers, we settled down early to be rested for tomorrow's trip to the museum.

The outside of our main destination, the museum Maloka.
Maloka is the largest science and technology museum in Colombia.  They have many interactive activities which help to explain and teach science concepts and principles.  Each area also has museum guides to help explain what is going on and to run special demonstrations.

An interactive exhibit which explained how the energy waves from an earthquake destroy buildings. 

An exhibit which showed how the principles of leverage work.  A 60 ponund child can lift a jeep!

Stefanie hooked up to a Van de Graff generator.  It was a shocking experience!
In the above picture, Stefanie volunteered to be hooked up to a generator which produced massive amounts of static electricity.  Her hair can be seen rising up due to the differences in electric charge.  We also experienced a lightning arc when we were inside an insulated cage.

And what museum is complete without a T-Rex?  We had to be careful, it looked hungry...
After seeing the exhibits we got a snack in the cafeteria and then went to see a movie.  The movie was the new Spiderman animation in 3-D.  They had no idea that a movie could be seen in 3-D!
Resting outside of the museum.

Later that afternoon we met with Andres and his dogs.  He is our friend from Bogota.
Gustavo and the kids stayed at Andres and Patricia's house on Sunday night.  When there they got to see the famous sights that were downtown.

The church Monserrate, which overlooks the city of Bogota.
On Monday morning we all met downtown.  Then we went up to one of the mountains overlooking the city.  On the mountain is the famous church of Monserrate.  Thousands of people visit this shrine daily.  Tens of thousands visit it during holy days.

We had to get there on the teleferico, a gondola car.

At the steps in front of the church.

After visiting Montserrat we returned to Suba.  The next day we celebrated Stefanie and my birthdays, both of which are on January 8.  We had carne asada (thin grilled steak), rice, plantain, salad, and birthday cake.
In my apartment in Suba.  We celebrated Stefanie and my birthdays.
After the birthday lunch, we went to the mall Plaza Imperial to see a movie.  Is was nice to walk through the city and through the mall.  Most of the city was still on vacation, so the place was packed.
The outside of Plaza Imperial at night.

Plaza imperial is the largest "Centro Comercial" in Suba.  This picture was from years ago.
Went we went, this open area was almost standing room only.
The movie we picked was Aquaman.  It had a lot of action.  After the movie, Gustavo asked if there really were people who lived under the sea that fought wars.  I told him yes, but not quite like what was shown in the movie!
We all thought the movie was great!
At last, on Wednesday morning they returned to the Amazon.  I dropped them off at the airport and waited until they passed through security.  I called the next day to check that the had arrived safely in the village.

When they return to the village we hope that the kids share their experiences. We hope they will avoid the poverty trap which many have fallen into and strive to develop sustainable business in the community. They and the other students that we sponsor are the future of the village of La Libertad.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Christmas Dinner 2018

We hosted Christmas dinner (two days late) for over 300 people in the village of La Libertad!

This is the fourth year Amazon Pueblo has hosted a Chrismas Dinner for the youth of La Libertad.  In previous years it was only for the youth, but for this year we had enough donations to invite the whole village.  Thank you to all of our donors, and to the Google One Today program, for making this possible.

In the check-out at Hiper.

We bought the majority of the food at Hiper, a grocery store in Leticia.  Gustavo's son Hector and his friend helped to get everything.  We had over 100 pounds of rice, 60 pounds of chicken, and 30 pounds of Brazilian hot dogs.  In addition, we bought oil, fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, spices, drinks, and hard candy for dessert.  The villagers supplied farina (roasted cassava), plantain, and all the work to cook arroz con pollo!

We are arriving at the village.  When the water level is high (now) we are able
to get the boat closer to Gustavo's house.

Gustavo and friends cooking the meal.

A big thanks to Elico, Anderson, and Gustavo for doing the majority of the cooking.

It was a rainy day.  This is the rainy season in the Amazon.
People take shelter from the rain while enjoying the feast!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Happy Holidays from Amazon Pueblo!

Happy Holidays to all of our friends, family, and supporters of 
Amazon Pueblo!

For 2019 we are providing scholarships to 25 students in the Amazon.  We are also planning to host a kid-friendly sustainable business workshop at km 18 outside of Leticia.

On December 29 we will be going downriver to Leticia to do the school shopping

One of our students at La Regalia, the best school supply store in the city

On December 24th Ben Angulo, the project director, will be flying back to Colombia to give the scholarships and to help administer the workshop.  Freddy, the director of Funmiroca (a Colombian NGO) will help us with the scholarship administration and the workshop.  Thanks Freddy!

Back to the jungle!

Freddy and one our of our Brazillian students with her father

And on December 28th we will host a slightly-late Christmas dinner in the village.  We hope to serve 300 people this year.

Last year's Christmas dinner

We will be posting pictures and news of how everything went on this blog in late January.  Please check back then.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Piranha Party Fundraiser 2018: Join the fun!

For this year we are holding the event at Flatbread Company in Rockport, Maine.  We are raising money to support the education of indigenous students in the Colombian Amazon.  The party will be on Tuesday, October 23 from 5 to 8 pm.

Here is a photo of the outside of Flatbread Company.  They are located on Route 1 in Rockport.  You may read more about the event and Flatbread on their Facebook page.

In addition to delicious flatbread pizza, Tuesdaynite jazz combo will be playing.  They are a part of MoJO, (Mondaynite Jazz Orchestra) based in Camden.  They will be playing a variety of well-known traditional and modern jazz arrangements.  MoJO's Facebook page is here.

We will be selling Colombian emerald jewelry, indigenous handcrafts, blowguns, and piranha.

At 7:45 we will have the raffle drawing for a Colombian emerald and diamond pendant valued at $1,200.  Tickets may be purchased throughout the evening (1 for $10, 3 for $20).  You do not need to be present to win.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Aceras de concreto en el pueblo de La Libertad

Después de un día de lluvia, de los cuales hay muchos en una selva tropical, los pasillos del pueblo se convierten en pozos de resbaladizo, sucio, barro. Las personas se caen. Los zapatos y los pies están cubiertos de capas construidas de tierra fangosa.

Cuando el alumno llega a la escuela cubierto de barro, no se les permite entrar en las aulas.

Una solución es esperar a que el gobierno dé los fondos y para hacer el trabajo. Después de 10 años sin una pasarela patrocinada por el gobierno, algunos aldeanos han decidido construir ellos mismos.

En la primera foto, Gustavo se muestra junto a las formas pasarela. Gustavo ha guardado el dinero para cemento y barras de refuerzo. Se ha recogido y llevado a la arena de un río local para mezclar con el cemento.

Ben Angulo, un voluntario con Amazon Pueblo, ayudó a Gustavo y su familia para traer la arena y para mezclar y verter el hormigón.

El hijo de Gustavo, Duvan, lleva una bolsa de cemento. La pasarela se vierte en un día.

Este proyecto es un excelente ejemplo de los aldeanos que toman la iniciativa para encontrar las soluciones a sus problemas!

Concrete walkways in the village

The first concrete volunteer/villager-built walkway in the village!

After a rainy day, of which there are many in a rainforest, the walkways of the village become pits of slippery, filthy, mud.  People fall.  Shoes and feet are caked with built-up layers of slimy earth.

When the school children arrive at school mud-covered, they are not allowed to enter the classrooms.

One solution is to wait for the government to give funds and to do the work.  After 10 years without one government-sponsored walkway, some villagers have decided to build it themselves.

In the first picture, Gustavo is shown next to the walkway forms.  Gustavo has saved the money for cement and rebar.  He has collected and carried sand from a local river to mix with the cement.

Ben Angulo, a volunteer with Amazon Pueblo, helped Gustavo and his family to bring the sand and to mix and pour the concrete.

Gustavo's son, Duvan, is carrying a bag of cement.  The walkway was poured in one day.

This project is an excellent example of the villagers taking the initiative to find the solutions to their problems!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Amazon Pueblo receives a GOLD ranking in transparency from the nonprofit watchdog Guidestar!

Amazon Pueblo was recently recognized for our transparency with a 2018 Gold Seal on our
GuideStar Nonprofit Profile!

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. More than 8 million visitors per year and a network of 200+ partners use GuideStar data to grow support for nonprofits.

In order to get the 2018 Gold Seal, Amazon Pueblo shared important information with the
public using our profile on Now our community members and potential donors can find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress. We’re shining a spotlight on the difference we help make in the world.

Check out our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile and tell us what you think: