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Monday June 12, 2017

Jungle Fever!

Ticuna girls in traditional dress

Well I am finally back from my three week humanitarian expedition to deepest Colombia, under the auspices of indefatigable British veteran explorer, Colonel John Blashford-Snell. And what an incredible experience it turned out to be!

Our international team of 15 flew from Bogota to the southern tip of the country, to the bustling river port of Leticia. From there we sailed in various vessels up the Amazon, and along the tributary of the Loretoyaku River for many hours. There we lived with various Amerindian Ticuna communities along the river carrying our medical aid and assisting with mapping, agriculture and eco tourism projects. We slung our hammocks in the wild or in the palm-leafed central malokas in the company of tarantulas, bats, giant cockroaches and other small beasties! Obtaining clean water was often challenging and the diet consisted of yuka, plantain, caiman (occasionally), piranha and other weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables.

We had also come with a special objective: to donate a much needed ambulance boat to the Ticuna community along the river. This was generously sponsored by Clinique La Prairie, Montreux, the exclusive medical clinic and spa, which also sent tee shirts for the locals.

Within a week of our stay in the rainforest, the ambulance boat saved the life of a baby struck with malaria. The boat with its fast engine, unlike the local canoes with paddles, was able to take the sickly child straight to the nearest hospital in Puerto Nariño where it was treated in intensive care.

So I have returned from my Ticuna bubble and wonderful and worthwhile adventure at least 5 kilos lighter. nine hundred e-mails awaited me and many a deadline but that’s the price for setting off on an unforgettable adventure! i shall be writing my experiences up for FT How to spend it so watch this space.

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