Headed for the Medical Launch
By Corrie Sample
Medical launch, here I come! I arrived in Iquitos on a Thursday afternoon and the next day we boarded a public launch to take us to where the mission launch was. We spent about 30 hours just lying around in hammocks. With hammocks packed so closely together, we had to keep an eye on our things because they have a habit of disappearing in such places. On the left is Lelis, the launch nurse, Christina, the health educator, is in the middle, then me :)
This was the lovely public launch we were on for those 30 hours. Our hammocks were right at the back on the right hand side of the boat under a light and right next to where beer was sold. The only reason we had such a lousy spot was that we only got there 3 hours before the boat was supposed to leave and all the good spots were already taken. Oh well, we had it better than some.
Here you can kind of get an idea how close together the hammocks were hung. There was absolutely no room to spread out and where we were, people were constantly squeezing between Christina and I to get to the snack and beer place. Needless to say, we didnít get a whole lot of sleep that night.
This is Fredy, an Israelite* boy that we became good friends with. He was traveling with his mother and 3 older brothers. He helped us out quite a bit with hanging our hammocks and such. He was also a little monkey. He hung his hammock way above the floor so that his mom and brothers could sleep below him. He had to climb on the mound of luggage or pull himself up the rope of someone elseís hammock to get into it.
*There is a group of people in a certain religion that call themselves Israelites. There is another picture of them later and I will tell more about them in that one.
This picture is for you, Mom, just to let you know that this book is getting very well used :) Christina was very thankful that I brought it, though she wishes that I had brought more.
This is the room that I share with Christina and Lelis. My bed is the on the far right. Thankfully, at the time I took this picture, mine wasnít the messiest :) We had quite a fun little rat hunt last night (July 31). We all woke up at about 1 or 1:30 to its running around. We called Aricho (second captain) and Manuel (dentist) to hunt it down and kill it. It took about 30 minutes, but they finally got it. It was quite an entertaining experience, as Christina and Lelis were doing a little bit of screaming and such :)
The canoes here are very different from what we had in Papua New Guinea. I havenít seen hardly any that are dugouts. Most of them are made out of lumber and sealed with some sort of pitch. Some, like the one you will see in one of the following pictures, are quite large. I have seen several of these and usually they are the ownersí home. Though some are owned by specific villages and used to transport goods to a larger village. The motors they use are also very interesting. As you can see in the picture, the propeller is out quite a ways from the engine head. This makes them a lot more maneuverable. Also, the engine itself is secured in such a way as to be able to pivot in just about any direction. For example, the propeller can be moved so that it is clear in at the side of canoe instead of always being in the back.
As you can see in this picture, we have some rather large traffic as well. This is an ocean vessel that passed us on its way down river. A lot of the people from the village got in their canoes to go meet the ship even though it didnít stop. I guess sometimes the big ships will throw out clothes and stuff for the villagers, so they all go out just in case. Although they probably also liked riding the big waves it created :) Thatís my theory, anyways. We have had several big ships pass us, including one that belongs to the military. Another military medical launch also passed by. It was quite impressive. Not huge, but definitely bigger than ours.
The sunsets here can be absolutely spectacular. I like this picture because it also shows one of the many floating buildings that we have here in San Pablo. They are used for canoe docks, bathing platforms, laundry platforms, fishing, and many other activities. I donít believe people live in them, but gas and other things are stored in some of them.
This is Manuel, the dentist. He hates to have his picture taken so this one was taken on the sly. It is kind of fun trying to get good ones of people that hide when they see a camera pointed in their direction. :)
This is one of the larger boats that I have seen. It goes up and down the river transporting whoever needs to be transported. Here they are transporting a group in the Israelite religion. A lot of the of Israelites are not originally from the Amazon basin, but they move here because land is easy to get and it is a good place to keep animals and have large gardens. They do not like to have their picture taken, and when I was taking this picture I heard them fussing about it. So I put the camera away. But I had to take a picture of it because it isnít like anything I have ever seen before. The Israelites are very much into gardening and keeping animals. It you see goats, cows, or horses, they usually belong to an Israelite. They have very interesting beliefs, too. They keep the Sabbath, but I believe they also perform the sacrifices as outlined in the old testament. All of the women wear a head covering and the men never cut their hair.
Here is a closer look at what the group of Israelites is bringing with them. The whole top of the boat was covered with sheep, goats, and chickens. It was quite a sight.
sunset! They always bring to my mind
~ Corrie ~