AMAZON BOAT TRIP - SEPTEMBER 10-20, 2019
BLUFF CREEK CHRISTIAN CHURCH - INDIANA
September 10, 2019
Team Brazil arrived just after midnight in Manaus. Departed the airport and went to a very dark Tropical Hotel that is very empty. No lights to guide us down the lane to the boat dock but we made it with no injuries or incidents. Ate a nice midnight meal and went to bed. The boat engines fired up about 4 AM and we departed Manaus toward our first village, Lago Preto, about six hours upstream from Manaus. We arrived about 10 AM and started seeing patients soon thereafter.
They have a nice thatched shelter that was large enough to accommodate most of the villagers while waiting. The village has about a dozen homes in the immediate area. All are painted and pretty well maintained. There are more toward the school that is nearby. There is another shelter that appears to be a common cooking and eating area. Along the river it looks like a boat graveyard. There are quite a few that have been abandoned. Some are the small madeiras (wood canoes) and some are the larger boats that are like a small houseboat.
Of course we performed the normal medical data gathering, doctor exams, eye exams, and dental cleaning. See table below for complete count of patients seen. There were not any major issues but our doctor did note that it seemed like everyone had grippe (a cold). Doc advised us all to take plenty of vitamin C. Flavia and Erin went into the village. They played games, had a lesson, and had a church service. One of the games was picking up the trash! It was great watching kids run to pick up the trash.
Flavia was able to obtain some shrimp and Nete (netch-ee) cooked them up quite well. Another good meal and sitting on the deck while heading downstream to Sao Sebastian. We were headed downstream into the wind so sleeping in the hedgies provided an interesting evening being buffeted by the wind. Still, we had a good night of sleep.
September 11, 2019 – devotions were from Matthew 14 – Jesus walks on the water.
Spent the morning sorting and storing about 1300 pounds of supplies we brought with us. Re-packed the pills and put the supplies in the storage bins in the lower hold of the boat.
We headed back upriver to the Uatumã River to go to our next village. It was quite hot during the trip. Not much wildlife or humans out. We did have a beautiful sunset rounding a bend so we were able to watch the sun set on the horizon over the water. God provided a great display of light and colors. We arrived at the village after dark. We will start seeing patients in the morning.
One side note; It was a long boat ride today and like anyone that has a lot of time and not much to do, I stumbled upon a way to make a whirlpool with about two ounces of water left. I tipped the bottle upside down and the water made a whirlpool. Everyone that was on the upper deck was able to replicate it.
September 12, 2019 – devotions were from Psalm 1 –walk with the righteous
It seems we hit a log with the boat mooring at the village last night. We only had three patients to see at Acabate, so the crew dove under the boat and were able to move the log and inspect the propeller which was okay. Someone asked Earl how long it would take if the propeller needed replaced. He answered that we would be there until sometime in October! We were able to depart for Santa Luzia and arrived there in time to visit the village before eating lunch. We were able to watch one family preparing farinha to sell. It was interesting watching them take the Manioc root and grind it up, sift it so there were no large chunks, and roasting to a golden color before bagging for market.
There were many children in Santa Luzia. Rose and Diandra (gee-aan-dra) sang songs with the children after all the patients were registered and most had been seen. Meresa played `hot potato` with some of the children and gave out candy. The dentists were very busy today with cleanings and extractions. We departed about 4 PM headed into a good breeze, the sun over our right shoulder, and an almost full moon ahead of us.
September 13, 2019 – devotions were from Psalm 18 – call on the Lord and Matthew 5 – love your enemies
We arrived at Araras (aa-raa-rass) last night after sunset. The village has several lights at the houses near the water. There is a cattle ranch off to the east. The doctor started seeing patients after breakfast. We are seeing mostly coughs and colds. We finished seeing patients and shared a worship service with the villagers. This was a good sized village. The school teacher and missionary were around most of the day and certainly during the afternoon service.
The school teacher took Meresa, our photographer, on a tour of the school. It is a well maintained school that has a kitchen, dining room, and several classrooms. They also had a display of some of the projects the children had created. One was a simple water purification system made from a couple of two liter bottles, sand, and gravel. Another was a truck made from bottles. The main project was a model of the village to scale. It won an award and trophy at a contest. The teacher was very proud of the project and the students that made it.
We went back to the boat to eat, watch the sun set, and moon rise. One of the villagers had a radio or something playing loudly that we could easily hear but not understand. Spent the night at Araras.
September 14, 2019 – devotions were from Hebrews 9 –liberty or freedom is bought with blood and James 1 – consider it joy when you face trials
Departed Araras for Leandro Grande (lee-and-roh graand-gee) after breakfast and devotions. We arrived about 10 AM and started seeing patients. Stopped for lunch and finished seeing patients after lunch. It is very hot today, at least 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than yesterday. Still no cell phone service.
Meresa went up and took photos of the school that is not being used for the school anymore and the community building where school is being held.
Left Leandro Grande about 3 PM to get to Jaqueraquara (jock-er-a-car-a) in time to watch part of a soccer tournament. One of the teams represents CBM. Flavia came by and said hello prior to heading to her work at the vacation Bible school. There was no plan to treat anyone there but there was an injury for Doc to look at.
We stayed the night at Jaqueraquara. The night was very warm and no breeze at all. It was a pretty miserable night to sleep top side.
September 15, 2019 – devotions-Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those that mourn – John 4 and Rev 9 – the harvest is ready
There was almost no one in the village and the others outside the village took a while to get to the boat. Judson took a boat to get some others that live in the jungle just a little bit away. Some of the patients here had malaria and were already being treated.
We had a great Sunday evening service on the boat. We sang a lot in both English and Portuguese. Communion and some verses to consider.
The after service activity included some of the crew and our team playing UNO. It started with the women of the crew and mission team playing and ended up a contest of the men of the crew and the same women! The men won and declared themselves the champions!
Left there and went to Caiua (kai-oo-aah) to spend the night.
September 16, 2019 devotions were about fear Psalm 27 and give thanks for everything 1 Thessalonians
There were quite a few patients here. Many came by boat today. This village is closer to a larger town so we saw some ear buds and jewelry we had not seen in the other villages. There is still no cell reception. There is malaria here too. Most of the issues we have seen have been coughs and colds. Everyone gets worm medication. Michelle, the dentist, has been pretty busy with extractions and fillings at every village. Teeth maintenance is a low priority here until the dentist comes around.
We headed for the Reserve. It is a designated nature preserve and there are quite a few people that live on the Reserve or nearby. We arrived after lunch and started treating people. They are in pretty decent health here but a few things were treated. There was an elderly couple that came by boat. She was dressed nicely and had a hat. According to their cards they were in their seventies. We asked them how long they had been married. The looked at each other and laughed. They could not remember!
We left the Reserve and headed for Sao Sebastian. About 30 minutes into the trip, everyone’s phone began to light up. We were back in cell coverage! It had been five days without communications without the interruptions of our life back home. We pulled into Sao Sebastian and parked for the night.
September 17, 2019 devotions – faith, hope, love, and family 1 Corinthians 13 and there is a time for everything – Ecclesiastes 3
We went to the greenhouse after devotions. We went out and helped a bit in the greenhouse before Santana opened up the jewelry shop. Many pieces of jewelry are going back to the U.S. We stopped at the cemetery on the way back to the boat. No patients today. Mostly resting. There was more card playing. It is still very hot out.
September 18, 2019 – no devotions today Earl spoke to us about the history of CBM and some of great examples of how great God has worked in their lives and the mission. Dream large and see what God will do for you and those dreams.
Headed back to Manaus for shopping and the return trip to the U.S.
Epilogue- This has been a very brief summary, on purpose, of our trip of over 240 hours. Words cannot and will not convey the moments in time that are priceless memories. You must dream large and create your own memories. Maybe it is not on a trip to the Amazon. Maybe it is a trip to the inner city or rural community near you. You are not too old, we had an 87 year old in our group; you cannot say you are too young, teenagers take mission trips all the time. Dream large and let God work in your life.
Totals of patients seen by location.