Cuyabeno Reserve, Jamu Lodge, part 2.

The world is really small…As we were talking to our guide, Washington, we mentioned that last year we visited the Yasuni National Park with a local guide. What was his name?- asked Washington. – Sandro. – Washington was laughing. – He is my brother! Didn’t you recognize his eyes? – Now, that he mentioned it, I could see it, too, they had very similar features…It was such a joy-ful experience – to go back to Ecuador, and this time accidentally meet Sandro’s brother…We had such a good time with him in the Yasuni – he was an excellent cook, a fearless boat-driver, great guide.

On Wednesday after breakfast we climb into the boat and go down river for like 2 hours to visit a local community. a local community

I guess the family has been accepting visitors for a decade now, at least the pictures on the wall of the little hut show a young child, who is now a young women. First, we all have to gather around a litter of doggies, who are surrounded by some oil-containers. A curious little cat slowly warms up to us…the curious cat with the puppies

a curious little creature

just laying around

The young girl showed the way to the fields  ecuador-2008-106-kis-kep2

they’ve been cultivating bananas, manioca (yucca, cassava), and corn, mostly for their own use. She pulled up a yucca-root, then cleaned it with a machete. yucca root

At the small hut, that served as a kitchen, she and her mom first grated the yucca root, then squeezed all the liquid out of it. The remaining flour-like substance then was placed on a hot, round rock, over the fire. ecuador-2008-120-kis-kepecuador-2008-116-kis-kep









the making of a yucca bread









After we left the community, we drove another half hour to visit a huge tree (you need like 20 people to circle it). It was truly an amazing tree, but we only spent a few minutes there. We had a quick lunch at the bank of the river (watermelon, rice with meat) and then it was time for the shaman…except we asked Washington, if we could go back to the trail. So until the others went to see the ceremony, we went to walk on a beautiful trail in the forest. Too bad, that most of the tourists spend so little time in the forest itself. By the time we got to the shaman, the ceremony was almost over…we just witnessed how he performed a healing ceremony on one of the girls…a healing ceremony


The shaman’s house was quite modern: it had some solar panels and they were selling coke and other soft drinks…On the way back we have seen some beautiful, big trees along the rivera big tree along the river

We could’t outrun the big storm that was approaching quickly with big thunder…but there is a reason this is is called a rainforest…In the evening there is a heated conversation about the economic situation of Ecuador. Some people blame everything on the ever-prevalent corruption, but I think it is more than that. Ecuador, like many other countires that are rich in natural resources, was pushed into debt by the Worldbank and the U.S.  (see: John Perkins: Confessions of an Economic Hit-man) According to his book, Perkins’ function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Saddled with huge debts they could not hope to pay, these countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the U.S. on a variety of issues. (source: Wikipedia) Az he says in an interview with Amy Goodman: “But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan—let’s say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador—and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure—a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.”

The next morning we start around 6 A.M. to go bird-watching. There is still fog over the river when we start..

foggy morning

foggy morning


In the water there are some treetrunks, and on the side of the trunks there are some bats sleeping, forming a straight line, like little water-drops…As soon as we get too close with our boat, they fly off, but don’t go too far, just a few meters down the river, and they settle down – in the same formation – on another trunk.

bats sleeping on a tree-trunk

bats sleeping on a tree-trunk

The oropendulas – like always – very noisy and active. On the branches over the water we see some hoatzins (also called: stinkbirds, because their meat is kind of stinky…) There has been a lot of debate about the taxonomic position of this family. One of the odd things about them is that the chicks have two claws on the tip of their wings, and when disturbed, they drop into the water to escape their predators and later they climb back into their nest by using this claws.



After breakfast we visit another lake, which never dries up, not even in the dry season. The boat drops us off at the beginning of a small creek, and we continue in two canoes.







3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    ROCIO REALPE said,


  2. 3

    I loved zipping through the jungle in canoes and dining by candlelight, but the nighttime hike gave me the heeby jeebies!

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