This place is so amazing – apart from a hectic schedule its an incredible journey of new experience after new experience – the river – the children – the love – the crime – the emotional tears at classical concerts – the scenery – public speaking – presentations – being behind a microphone – on camera – being interviewed – but overall this project just blows your mind.

I’ve just returned from Ilha do Combú – Combu Island –  from the Day of Children “Dia das Crianças” festivities at the island school, a half hour trip from Belém city. We spent time with the children – I gave them a lesson on the rain cycle – and also watched the Horta Suspensa workshop by an incredible NGO that aims to promote, practice, discuss and try to make the world a better place to live through the principles of permaculture. The previous night I’d been treated to a night on the river, staying at the riverside home of one of the loal medical centre staff. After the rains fell it was an incredible night with clear skies, a bright full moon and no mosquitos! Even more incredible was watching the river rise by over 5 metres – which explains the height of the “bridges” or walkways from the river edge to the houses.dsc00030

Our hosts “bridge” was in poor repair, mainly because the family had recently lost the father from a poisonous snake bite while he was in the rainforest collecting acai berries. I spoke at length to the daughter of the house, now alone with her mother. She was going to technical college before her father died but had to drop-out as there was no longer anyone to pick her up and escort her across the river in the evenings – she also didn’t want to leave her mother to go into the city. Its a really difficult situation for them but they never stopped smiling and were so so hospitable to us. Luckily, they’ve agreed to host volunteers that wish to come help the school, the community and AmazonArt’s work. We talked about the fact there were virtually no widwives in the area and whether Viv (the daughter) wanted to get trained in midwifery. Her mother works at the medical centre. If there are any midwives who could offer assistance in training that would be fantastic. There is no internet access on the island but there’s ways of adapting lessons!

Tomorrow we leave early for Bragança on the Atlantic coast to assist another project supported by AmazonArt. I’ll update you shortly – meanwhile photos on the Facebook page (Link top left).

Young boy climbing the acai tree to collect berries