Belen – Underwater

Each year as the snow melts on the Andes and winter rains come the level of the Amazon River rises as much as 30 feet flooding most of Belen. The raw sewage and waste mixed with all kinds of trash are picked up into and around the homes. Most homes are on stilts for this reason and many expect to abandon the first floor of their home during the flood time.

While taking my Spanish lesson this morning, Cali my Spanish teacher told me she was worried about her ex-nanny and friend. She had stopped by Belen on Sunday and she was in the process of building a house but had no money to finish and her and her 8 year old daughter were living underneath the house which had become a small island as the water had risen. I suggested that we take a trip down and see how she was doing.

The island was no more, the water had covered the bottom of the house and Cali’s friend was knee deep in water trying to recover a few small palm fronds. We set a plan in place and jumped in a canoe and headed towards the palm frond store. Hmmm a new experience, going to the palm frond store.

About 30 minutes and S/140 ($50) later we had a boat full of palm fronds and a smiling face. On Thursday we will get the wood necessary for a floor. Total cost about $150 and now a mother and a small child will be sleeping on dry ground. It is amazing how much you can do here with so little. A good day in Iquitos!