I arrived in Iquitos this morning and was greeted by Paul my friend and the director of People of Peru, www.peopleofperu.org, an incredible organization doing amazing things for the community with a free medical and dental clinic, supporting the children in the community and Poppy’s House an orphanage for neglected and abused girls and their children.
We started the day checking out Paul’s new dental clinic, then off to the new crib, a one room apt overlooking a tributary that leads into the Amazon. I have a nice clean room, a TV full of channels that I don’t understand the language and an air conditioner (Yeah). Bill runs a tour outfit that offers boat tours up the Amazon and a small restaurant. If his boat tours are anything like his breakfast, then I will have to go for a tour one day. The breakfast was wonderful.
Then Paul took me down to a couple of houses they are building for two families in the slums of Belen. It was amazing to see all the kids flock to Paul like the pied piper. It was also amazing to see the conditions that these kids live in trash and raw sewage where they must be exposed to every disease and danger of getting hurt imaginable. To see the kids of Belen again was sobering. It is the reason I came back to Iquitos, someone must help people like Paul save these kids.
The we headed out to Poppy’s House to see the girls again. We rode motorcycles out to the orphanage. I haven’t driven a motorcycle in 30 years, keeping up with Paul was an adventure in itself and in Iquitos they break all the rules, no helmet, bad roads and crazy traffic. Please don’t tell Lou.
Some of the faces had changed but many were the same girls who where there 3 years ago. A new girl had just joined the crew, she lived up the Amazon with her husband, a Shaman and her 15 month old baby. She got tired of her husband abusing her so she hitched a boat ride with someone coming to Iquitos and showed up on Paul’s doorstep with nothing but her baby. When we ran into her at Poppy’s House she was all smiles. You could see the glow on her face, she was soooo thankful to be out of the abusive relationship, 17 years old with a baby.
Later we had a good dinner at the Yellow Rose of Texas and then back to the crib. A tour of all the wonderful things that Paul is doing and a reminder of why I am in Iquitos Peru.