We left at 5am in a motocar out of Iquitos, and picked up a van. We took the van one and half hours outside the city, till you couldn’t drive any further, you could only take a boat. So we took a 4 hour rapido ride, and at long last we arrive in Jenaro Herrara. A small town known for its production of buffalo milk cheese. As we got into a motocar to ride to the LLAP research center outside of town, it was very odd to look around and see so much farmland in the jungle. For a moment I almost felt like I was home in Virginia. We are staying in a truly gorgeous cabin, and have hired the talents of a local woman down the road to cook our meals for us. On our way out to the research center we stopped at the local health clinic to drop of medical supplies Campbell acquired as a donation from a hospital back home in the states. They gave us a tour, and brought us into the room where they bring mothers in labor. Much to our surprise an hour or so earlier a mother had given birth in this room. The nurse handed Luke and I this tiny new born baby. I was truly shocked. Of course back home you wouldn’t walk into a clinic and pick up a strangers baby without questioning, and inquiry about hygiene. It was really incredible to have such tiny hands grabbing our fingers.
Leaving Luke to rest Angel, Campbell and I set out to see the Copal resin lumps on trees in the forest. Campbell’s purpose in coming to the Amazon is to study the Copal resin lumps, and the weavels that produce them. The hope is that their wonderful fragrance can be marketed to perfume companies across the world. It was so hot, and intense, and wonderful delving so deeply into the forest and climbing among the trees. We also happened upon some bees collecting Copal, and did our best to photograph them. It was surely a difficult shot, as Campbell had to cover himself in our shirts and keep a safe distance to not be stung.
Of course there were artists here too. Two who I am particularly fond of were a lesbian couple who made the most adorable balsa wood earrings. They had many that looked like parrots, but there were also pink river dolphins, toucans, and butterflies. It was wonderful to support them. There is also a larger group of artists who’ve worked hard to fill a large order for Campbell of intricate Chambira tree ornaments that look like butterflies, grasshoppers, and flowers. Their bright colors and tiny size make them quite cute. It’s been amazing to see the difference in crafts amongst the villages.