An Unforgettable Trip on the Solimões River
January 23 2012
Four weeks, eleven projects, something for everyone... Managing Trustee is takes group of senior members from the Xixuaú community down the Rio Solimões, all the way to the Columbian border.
After a four week trip down the Rio Solimões from Manaus to Leticia, in Columbia, the group of 18, made up of Robert Pasley-Tyler, Emanuela Evangelista – our esteemed Italian biologist – Chris Clark – the almost native foreigner of Xixuaú – and members of the Xixuaú community, returned rejuvenated and excited by what they had seen and learnt. This was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see and learn how different projects are run, with the aim that, on return to the Xixuaú, newly acquired skills and knowledge can be implemented to develop new projects.
In total the group visited 11 projects from sustainable fishing to permaculture, Brazil nut production to honey culture, ecotourism to sustainable use of the forest as well as discovering a world of courses available that would help put into practice all that they would like to achieve.
Here are a few that stood out:
In Amaturá the group were introduced to a Brazil nut production scheme, where the communities not only farmed the Brazil nut but processed the nuts ready for packaging, thus increasing the profit margin. Here local community members had undergone various training courses from cooperative management to land management and the different processes that can be undertaken to improve the quality of produce.
Almost at the border our keen explorers visited an agroforestry system in Tabatinga, led by Padre Dom Alcimar Magalhães. This one stood out. This site is 15 years old and the variety of fruit, herbs, and medicinal plants is impressive. The project even supports a sustainable fishing programme and rears pigs and cattle. Our group saw the scale and variety of different options that they could replicate back in the Xixuaú.
On their return they stopped to visit an eco-tourism resort – Pousada Uacari - in the middle of the Mamiraua reserve. Here the group really appreciated the work they have to dedicate and changes they have to make to their own eco-tourism scheme: a warm welcoming reception by the team, the filling in of all necessary paper work on arrival to a brief questionnaire at the end of their stay evaluating the team and their experience. They saw the importance of an itinerary for the guests of what trips will take place, at what time with set meal times etc. With this kind of organisation in place the community hope to improve their own service ironing out any problems with each member accountable for their own responsibility to ensure the smooth running of the visitors stay.
Among other initiatives visited, such as honey culture and land management which the community will look into, the real highlight was learning that those involved in the various projects had all undergone some form of training and completed a number of different courses.
The community are now investigating Roraima state resources available to them in terms of courses available to enhance their knowledge and develop skills to create a more sustainable revenue for the community.