Amazon Jungle (Day 3)

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March 18th 2014
Published: March 20th 2014
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Day 29 Today we were involved in many of the community activities. Firstly the red die in the seeds of a rambutan like fruit was used for face painting as a bit of fun & as a means to show how it is used in cosmetics as well as food colouring. The red colour is also believed to scare away bad energy.

We then walked through their communal farm area to find out about all the characteristics & uses of the various plants & trees & to collect various fruit & vegetables (incl limes, oranges, yuca - a starchy root vegetable used to make chicha, a staple energy drink/food for all the family as well as a more alcoholic drink when left to ferment up to 2 weeks. We also collected various aromatic green leaves to make a herbal type tea and to wrap fish into a parcel & barbecue for our lunch. Delicious smokey flavour!

Several varieties of cocoa trees grow endemically in South America and one of the many products taken back to Europe by the Spanish who then improved the choc making technics used today. We had a choc making demonstration with the finished product used as a topping for our banana desert.

Other interesting trees found included chunta palm which is a very solid wood used for house & bridge bearers, knives, spears, blow pipes & musical instruments.

The same straw palm roofing technique seems to be used by many indigenous communities around the world & if dried correctly can last up to 20 years. Strips can be pealed from the palm stems & used for basket making, traditional dresses, Panama hats. We all had to weave a 3 strand head piece.

This afternoon we did a bangle making class using twine & seeds. My efforts were clearly no good but are at least were in the Bombers colours. Tonight we will finish with a torch light nocturnal walk after dinner.


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