Diego just sent pictures of the finished ponte <bridge> at Viviane’s house (on left). After visiting Combu Island with Amazonart in October Viviane and her mother ‘Nena’ incredibly accommodated us in their home on the river. There are many different memories from the trip but what stands out to me are always the real and actual changes made. Meeting people and networking is important but only a certain percentage of people around the world “make change”. In our joint project with AmazonArt we really did. There is so much commitment from this young team and their obvious passion for Music is the medium they use to make change, especially here at the Combú Island School which is only a few hundred metres downriver from Vivianes house.

I was invited to stay in the house of Izete dos Santos Costa, lovingly known as Nena, thanks to the thoughts of the fabulous Diego Carneiro who “thought I might like to” !!. Nena works at the islands only medical centre and was only too happy to offer her home to Alex, from Travel2Change (sponsors of the trip) myself and Felipe, from Amazonart. Nena and her daughter, Viviane, talked openly (via our awesome translator, Felipe) about how they were now living alone. Nena had lost her husband to a snake bite in the forest while he was out collecting acai berries for his work. The hospital was simply too far away for him to get help in time. This also meant that Viviane had had to drop out of college.

When we arrived at the house we had to get off the boat and climb the steps up to their deck or “ponte”. Originally built by Nena’s husband but with no one to maintain it now it was in very bad repair. Pontes are essential and it only made sense to fix this lifeline for my new friends, thanks to all our donors. Nena and Viviane later offered to accommodate any volunteers wishing to help the school and medical centre in the future. I urge you to go visit, spend a night by the river. It is a magical and incredible experience you will NEVER forget.

Make it a resolution – travel over or just get on your laptop and assist Amazonart with their fantastic work – Open your eyes – Breathe deeply – its the AMAZON !!  հձթթყ ռεա ყεձг ²º¹²