Promoting the sustainability in the district of Amazonas-Peru
To all the guests of Otorongo Expeditons past present and future :On behalf of the communities in the district of las Amazonas-Oran, San Gregorio, Santa Rosa , 7 de Junio , Ayzana and Roca Eterna . We would like to say thank you for visiting our part of the Amazon. This area neighboring Napo and Iquitos, Peru has experienced more tourists and adventure seekers this year more that any other. With the constant visits, Otorongo Expeditions is able to branch out. We are infiltrating the farthest reaches touching the hearts and minds of many locals through personal positive experiences with tourism.Residents of this district are really catching the rhythm of our beat. During our busy season April-August Thirty individuals had stable work for five months straight earning multiple times more than what they could have earned in an extraction based economy. Year round there is an exclusive rotating staff of five locals with the most experience in this branch of work. For the first time ever, people have more, worry less and live better thanks to tourism dollars.Locals are investing and there is an evident trickle down effect in their small economiesMany of those individuals were able to build their house out of long lasting materials such as brick, hardwood and tin roofs, no longer in the plan of reconstruction every five to ten years due to the tropical environment. The palm thatch groves in terra firme will be getting a rest whilst the families enjoy dryer, cleaner and more permanent living space.Many people also took advantage and bought gas stoves, propane and propane tanks for their cooking. It would be foolish to completely get rid of the typical fire hearth seeing how barbecue fish is common several times a week. The move to gas stoves have freed up even more time for parents and children by reducing the need to search for adequate firewood for the week.
It was interesting to see what else locals did with their new income, other examples are investment in small animal farms such as chickens and pigs. Workers should employ their own help to cultivate their plots of plantains, yucca and chocolate. Three individuals had brand new sets of teeth installed after many years of neglect and decay. Other items bought by locals working in tourism were-weed whackers, chainsaws, engines for boats, generators, water pumps, toilets, sinks, PVC tubes, televisions and DVD players.I actively endorse several villages for protecting their communal lands. Aside from yearly income, the villagers of San Gregorio get to work with tourists directly guiding, while at the same time serving as reserve guards for the land .This is the latest development in the community of San Gregorio. The opening of a rustic house in the interior of their communal lands(5000hectares) and the full protection of the tributaries of Arambaza river for tourism use. The community of San Gregorio is the first village in the district of the Amazon to take these steps for their future. This is know known as the Wapapa community reserve and Arambaza camp.
These communities have been busy bettering their village and houses , purchasing tools that make life and work in the Amazon much eaiser. They have also created an emergency fund for any villager that may need help in a grave situation( illness or evacuation). Their funds are several thousand soles strong thanks to the hundreds of tourists that have passed through.
Aside from the working men,the $strongest$ in the village of San Gregorio are the women! their arts and crafts have been evolving with us for ten years and it seems like they know what visitors like. Occasionally I have to remind them not to include any endangered animal parts or bring live animals to the art hut but thats Ok. I don’t mind reminding them, it’s their culture to live very close to wildlife so they do not see much harm done.
This is one of many ceiba trees in a reserved area of the district.:
We still have a lot of work to do, there are many other communities that want to jump on the wagon with us promising to protect their communal lands for yearly incentives from Otorongo Expeditions, a process that takes plenty of personal time with people in their villages planning and dialoging.I can only hope the influx will keep multiplying so we can spread even more the benefits of sustainable tourism to different communities. This is more than just an Eco lodge-Otorongo Expeditions :promoting environmental sustainability and quality tours, one step at a time
A long time driver and trail blazer for Otorongo
Fisheries professor Mark Cornwall fishing on the bank of the Amazon River in Oran, Peru