The indigenous community of the Tahuayo River basin consists of approximately 8,000 people who live in 12 villages. The majority of our staff were born in these villages and the communities have a long history of involvement both in the conservation program of the ACRCTT as well as eco-tourism activities of Amazonia Expeditions. Our guests are always welcome to visit the villages to see how the people live using sustainable resources of the forest. Cultural practices, such as shamanism, are of interest to many of our guests and are made available by the communities without the ugly practice of begging which has degraded ecotourism operations in so many parts of the world.
Amazonia Expeditions has long provided aid to reciprocate the kindness, conservation ethic and assistance provided to us by the indigenous people of the Tahuayo River. To this end Amazonia's director Dolly Arevalo Beaver incorporated a non-profit organization, Angels of the Amazon (AOA), recognized by the IRS as a legal non-profit. AOA has managed to raise funds to provide substantial support for the local communities. The aid provided can be categorized into three major spheres: medical and health care, educational assistance and economic programs.
Our major health initiative has been support of the medical clinic in Esperanza Village. AOA reconstructed the rural clinic in 2009, adding concrete floors, two emergency care rooms, bathrooms and offices for clinical staff. In 2010 a maternity room was added by AOA. In 2011 we added electricity by solar power to provide evening lights for medical procedures and to refrigerate vaccines and antivenin. The obstetrics/gynecology nurse is paid entirely from AOA funds. AOA also helps to provide medicines and medical supplies. The clinic is considered to be the best rural clinic within Peru's Amazon region. Although built to provide for the people of the Tahuayo River basin, some people come from other communities days away because of its reputation for quality care. The clinic sees an average of 20 patients a day.
Sometimes individual medical needs are beyond the scope of care offered at the clinic. We see this with 2-3 people a year who need some exceptional procedure. AOA has provided the funding for surgeries to restore sight, hearing, ability to walk, ability for mandibular function, reconstruct lower intestines and faces, cancer treatment etc. in special hospitals in Iquitos, Lima and in the United States for many children and several adults.
Plans are also underway to provide pure well water for the villages of the Tahuayo. AOA and Amazonia Expeditions are partnering with SAIWI (Students Assn for International Water Issues) to determine the most feasible way to engineer sanitary wells.
Outside of the Tahuayo River basin AOA assists and provides supplies to the AIDS House in Iquitos. Over a thousand dollars of supplies are donated to the AIDS house annually, helping to raise the quality of care for patients there.
The students of the upper four villages of the Tahuayo River (the villages least funded by the government) are all provided with a package of school supplies at the start of each school year. At least one nutritional breakfast is provided for each school once a month. Books required by the teachers are also provided for the schools.
One of our programs that has had the largest impact is the scholarship program. Students with academic potential are identified and matched with donors who include Amazonia's former guests. It is very satisfying to see these smart children from such humble jungle villages attend high schools, technical schools and universities in Iquitos city. Many have earned honors and started professional careers. We currently have over 35 students on scholarship.
Special attention has also been provided for children with disabilities both in the Tahuayo River as well as for the school for disabled children in Iquitos. AOA purchases materials and supplies that help parents and teachers provide for the special needs of children in their care.
AOA and Amazonia have provided for several economic initiatives. Dolly organized the women's artisania cooperative, which trains the women to make beautiful baskets from renewable resources such as palm fibers, in the traditional style of their culture. In addition to keeping this artistic tradition alive, the sale of the baskets provides for a needed cash income for the villages. Since the baskets are woven by the native women, their economic empowerment has helped them to find a voice in politics of their communities and uplifted their self-esteem in their own home.
Hunting was greatly decreased in the ACRCTT by the agreement of Amazonia to train and hire those who hunted as conservation assistants, to assist in maintaining the trail grid and to provide for a continuing census of wildlife populations.
If you wish to make a tax deductible donation to assist in the charitable work of Angels of the Amazon, either contact us or make your donation directly via paypal
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