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Saturday 7 Jun 2014
Pantoja, Peru

Monkeys and missionaries

All the time there are more and more people coming on board. We woke up to more hammocks woven around ours- the deck is starting to look like something from the crypton factor- you have to duck under hammocks all over the place (and the monkey). There must be around 30 on our deck- all using one toilet/shower tap (which is a bit tense- lots of banging on doors… and men peeing of the side of the boat). All in all I would estimate there is 80 people on the boat. Downstairs is starting to smell a bit like a farm.

One thing that has been on our mind a lot recently is the issue of waste disposal. The cargo ship chucks all rubbish and waste straight into the river, even at port. It seems that throwing things in the river is the main way of getting rid of rubbish for the villages too. Our initial reaction was shock and disapproval. Then we started thinking that our rubbish at home is just chucked in a hole in the ground. You don’t see the litter here on the river banks as the current is so strong it gets taken straight down river to sink or the sea I guess. Is that so much worse that putting it in a hole? Creating landfill here would involve deforestation too. We have decided to take our rubbish with us off the boat as we are not sure what to think- but when you see how people live it is not as clear cut issue as it seems. One good thing in South America is the trend for ‘returnable’ glass bottles- which are then refilled and reused. A lot of the cargo is empty beer bottles ready to be returned- little corner shops give you money back when you bring back the bottle. That seems like a definite good idea- at home we recycle but the glass is crushed then re-modelled- so it must be must more energy efficient to just refill.

When we came back to our hammock with our lunch we had 2 new neighbours- 2 little monkeys tied up on the water tank next to us. R fell in love with them. One was a baby- with spikey black hair. As he is so young he likes to cling to people like he would his mum- so R had him hanging on his tummy- looked like R was pregnant! It was very very sweet. We had lunch (goat, rice, lentils again) and curled up for our daily post-lunch hammock cuddle/nap- lush. We stopped less today and at some stops we actually dropped off bits. We went by one village which had a huge church at the centre with concrete steps up to it. It was obvious that the village has had a lot of funding- it had a big concrete boat dock and children’s play-park = missionaries. When we studied about Amazon tribes in Anthropology missionaries were the biggest cause of change to the indigenous communities.

Now there are so many people on here the food is getting a bit more basic- we had a watery rice pudding type dish for breakfast and dinner today. The evening was lovely- breezy on deck and distant lightening amongst the pink clouds whilst we swung in our hammock.

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