Visit to the Village of Sinchicuy

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This is a typical house in this village. There are roughly 800 inhabitants, but they only have electricity for about 2 hours a day. It didn’t appear there was plumbing and most windows were completely open, with no screens or glass. Water comes directly from the Amazon and we saw people bathing and washing clothes in the river.

One of the first excursions we took outside of the Cumacebe Lodge was a boat trip to the tiny village of Sinchicuy. This place is accessible only by taking a boat along the Amazon, about 22 miles (35 km) from Iquitos.

Can’t tell if this is under construction or not. Notice the concrete pillar with blue metal in the center of the photo. This is part of an old electrical system which is no longer working.
This village was certainly peaceful. It did have both a primary and secondary school, but classes were only from 7a-1p.
Most of the village is Catholic and this was the only church I saw.
This is a medical station, but it isn’t staffed at the moment.
The houses are built around this town square/soccer field, still quite wet from last night’s rain.
This is probably the tallest building in the village. The chickens ran around everywhere and I have no idea how people knew which belonged to whom. The banners were up because the village was celebrating the anniversary of their founding.
This is inside the community center and they are decorated for the anniversary celebration.
This woman offered us a sip of a fermented agave beverage. It was pretty awful.
Inside the community center was a DJ. His program was broadcast by loud speaker all over the village. He interviewed us, though we needed a translator. Here the two French members of our group speak. I would have found the man’s constant talking to be very annoying. He played very eclectic music, but talked over it the entire time.
There was little grass in front of houses, just dirt. The concrete structure in the middle of the photo used to be a public water source, but this is no longer working. The telephone poles and lighting system is under construction, but so far is not yet hooked up to power.
Chickens everywhere
Two baby caimans caught in the river.

Not much privacy.
We then walked out of the village on a narrow dirt path through the jungle.

Outside this small village were a group of native Indians, called Yaguas. They are an indigenous people living in northeastern Peru, though this small tribe had immigrated from Chile. The word “yagua” in Spanish means “royal palm,” which may refer to the clothing they wear which is made of palm fiber. The Yagua have their own language, though they also speak Spanish, and the children attend the Sinchicuy primary and secondary schools. By law, children must attend school until at least age 12.

We arrived at the small settlement of these indigenous people, the Yaguas.
Their dress seems to be mostly palm and red cloth.
We were greeted by the chief in their native language, then we were each painted with a red dye. It was so hot, I had sweated off mine before we got back to the lodge.
They did three dances for us, but the dances were extremely simple. The first was just walking in a circle like this, beating drums and playing a flute.
The women got into the act too for the third dance, but the step looked like a really simple rumba. It was clear that most didn’t really know the words to the song. The chief (not pictured) seemed to be the only one who knew the words and dance steps. I’m not saying it was fake, but I really had my doubts about this being an actual indigenous tribe.

The men use a punaca (a blowgun) to hunt animals for food.

After the dancing, we had a blowgun demonstration. To hunt, the tips of the darts are coated in poison–often from the colorful poison dart frogs.
Some of our group got into the act to practice.
This was our target. I missed with both my darts, but two men got a hit.
Don’t you love that hat? The feathers are from native birds. The tribe took donations and sold handicrafts.

 

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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

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