AMAZON BOAT TRIP - April 19 – 29 , 2022 - By Marian van Dalen-Anderson
This mission trip started when eight of us arrived in Manaus April 20, 2022 in the wee hours of the morning having left our respective homes Tuesday April 19th. We were greeted at the airport by the boat captain, Sanderley, who most of us had met on previous trips and keep in touch with via Facebook.
Our group consisted of Judy Grant, Dr Jim McGhee, Debbie Vest, Merle Franks, Truman & Nancy Whitaker, Mike Haubner and Marian van Dalen-Anderson.
We hale from different areas of the U.S.A., which included Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin.
With a variety of backgrounds and gifts we were able to serve in a variety of ways.
Mike served as Chief and translator.
Dr. Jim was the Doctor onboard.
Truman controlled the flow and greeted villagers while Nancy gave out deworming medicine. In addition she entertained the villagers with questions about fishing and animals of the Amazon.
Judy made balloon animals to entertain and comfort the children.
Merle handed out sunglasses and eyeglasses while Marian weighed everyone and took the blood pressure of older adults.
Debbie worked in the pharmacy with Danielle to dispense medication.
When we arrived on the boat we were greeted warmly by the staff with hugs and food.
Most of us were tucked in bed by 4:30 a.m..
We started sailing down the river towards Sao Sebastian to pick up Santana and Dani.
These ladies were in charge of checking villagers in and ministering to the children.
In Sao Sebastian we were able to have limited internet and cell service, always good to keep in touch with loved ones at home.
Sao Sebastian is where the green house is and Santana lives.
Dani lives with her husband there and in the first village we visited Thursday morning, Buçusal.
Thursday April 21, we awoke to the boat sailing down the river to our first village.
While we made our way we had breakfast and devotions.
Devotions included the thought: We are what we think with Scriptures from
Roman 10: 2-3, 2 Corinthians 10: 5 and Exodus 6;6-7.
The weather was cloudy all morning with rain most of the afternoon.
We saw several families (80 individuals) over the course of the day.
After the last family was seen we walked up to the village to check out the factory where a fruit will be processed to sell as juice concentrate.
A variety of foods are experienced daily and going hungry is up to each person!
Going home having not gained weight will be the challenge!
Friday, April 22, we sailed down the river a short way to village #2, Sao Nascente.
The day started with the group singing Happy Birthday to Truman to celebrate his 75th along with a big cake made by Nete.
The day continued with breakfast and devotions with Merle filling in for our devotion guy, Dr Jim since he was down with bronchitis and spent the morning resting.
Devotions included Mathew 6: 2-6, 19-20, Luke 16,:9, 12,20-21 & 33.
Where your treasure is your heart will be!
We greeted dozens of families throughout the day seeing to their basic medical needs. Mike saw villagers in the morning while consulting with Debbie on appropriate medications to be administered. Dr Jim joined us for the afternoon clinic, as he was feeling better and tired of lying around.
After lunch and the group counted and bagged up a variety of OTC medications to be handed out the rest of the day and Saturday.
After clinic and before dinner a few of us took a motorcycle cart ride to tour the plantation owned by CBM and run by two male employees from the village.
It was a bumpy ride, but Debbie, Judy, Mike and myself enjoyed the countryside, seeing where and how people live, locals playing soccer and of course, the plantation that consisted of hundreds of fruit trees, from graviola, cupuaçu and guarana. At the end of the day we watched a few men unload their boat of manioc root.
The day concluded with a few of us playing cards while others went to bed after a full day in the heat.
Saturday April 23rd started with a beautiful sunrise and a short trip to village #3 Divino. Once again we enjoyed a tasty nutritious breakfast provided by the wonderful staff on the boat, Nette, Eliziete, & Mara. Devotions followed with Dr. Jim back at the helm.
Jesus as Healer, 2 Kings 20;1-7-Hezekiah healed after 15 years.
John 9: 1-11-Blind man sees. The challenge is how should I\we rely on Jesus for healing in our lives’ and how will it change my relationship with others.
The morning was busy with many families and clinic did not finish until 1 p.m. when Sanderley transported us to village #4 Paraiso. We needed to leave to prevent more families from expecting to be seen. One family was instructed to meet us at the next village, a short boat ride away.
We had a late lunch, a short rest and opened for business about 2:30 that afternoon. We cared for people until 4:45 p.m. After closing the clinic Dr Jim, Mike, Debbie and I climbed the many stairs up to the village to do a house call on a man who was suspected to have had a stroke.
We were welcomed into this home and the medical professionals checked him out and instructions were given to the family as how to care for the man. Cell service was available for a few minutes and some of us were able to call loved ones.
We hurried to the boat as it was readying to head to Santo Antonio to dock for the evening.
Dinner was served, medications were counted and bagged and an intense game of UNO was enjoyed. Good night~Deus te abençoe.
Sunday April 24th started with another beautiful sunrise on the Amazon and a school of boto (dolphins) feeding nearby the boat. Following a lovely breakfast of fruit, crunchy rolls, cheese/ham, jams, fresh juice, coffee, tea, fried bananas and scrambled eggs we met on the top deck, once again, for devotions.
Set on Fire by Truth, Jesus is Unchanging, Psalm 102: 25-27 contrast-perish/remain. Hebrews 1: 1-14, Jesus is above all! Power over everything.
We started caring for people from the village of Santo Antonio right after devotions and worked until 1 p.m. We resumed after 2 p.m. with only a handful of singles and families waiting to see the doctor.
About 4 p.m. we traveled down the river a short distance to the village of San Pedro where we had a snack of avocado shake and popcorn before getting ready for communion.
The Communion message was brought to us by Pastor Truman from Mathew 25 with a visual lesson on sheep and goats and about caring for the Least of These.
Late afternoon is a good time to take a shower as the sun has warmed the water to make one’s shower less chilly and almost hot! Most of us took a shower before dinner. Thank goodness!!!
After dinner several of the Americans and Brazilians enjoyed spirited games of UNO, Brazilian rules! The word on the street…Brazilians cheat! You have been forewarned.
Monday April 25, 2022 we left Santo Antonio and headed for village #6-San Pedro. We left the government medical boat in our wake. We were blessed to have the opportunity to care for that boat’s captain and mechanic. Ask Mike Haubner about that encounter.
The trip to San Pedro was short and we got things ready to see villagers after our morning devotions and singing of worship songs in Portuguese and English. We are doing well learning how to pronounce the words correctly. The Brazilians are patient teachers.
Devotions: How we do think vs how we are supposed to think.
Jesus is Faithful, Genesis 17: 15-17-promises a son to Sarah and Abraham,
Genesis 21: 1-7
Isaiah 53: 10-11(Jesus)
Mark 14: 32-36, 15: 6-20 Crucify him
The morning was busy caring for 38 individuals. This was our smallest group and we were done shortly after 11a.m. Lunch was early; we rested while our captain carried us to village #7 Batista.
In Batista there was a quaint little Baptist church where the people gathered to wait to come on the boat for care. The children gathered under a large tree to be entertained by Santana. We were pleasantly surprised at the number (69) of people we were able to care for that afternoon. The clinic was open from 2-5 p.m.
With Fabio at the helm and Sanderley supervising, we traveled toward the main river to dock for the evening. On our way a small boat hailed us offering the sale of some fish. Some of the crew bought a basket full of fish and fruit from these men for 50 real or about $12.
Sanderley setup his BBQ on the bank of the river and cooked the fish over an open fire. The fish looked like a catfish but is called Bodo. The fish was cooked whole and Nete peeled the skin back to share the meat with us. It was very tasty!
After dinner a large group of us played UNO, with Sanderley insisting that we sit Brazilian-American-Brazilian as we competed against each other. After five hands the Brazilians won 3 to 2! They have some strange rules for the game…and may cheat…I’m just saying beware.
While waiting for the UNO game to begin Truman discovered a small bug on the table and asked if it was the dreaded Pee Bug? It was! This bug, when touched excretes a substance that burns the skin. It is very painful!
In my world, 9 p.m. is very early to go to sleep for the night, but we were all ready to hit the hay after a busy day! Boa Noite!
Tuesday April 26, 2022 started with breakfast consisting of our normal fare with homemade cornbread and pineapple upside down cake! Oh my!! Both were so good and little went a long way. Moderation is the key to not gaining weight while on this trip.
At breakfast Mike gave us the plan for the day, which was devotions, clinic and travel to Sao Sebastian.
After the crew had breakfast we all headed to the top deck for devotions and singing. The entire week’s theme has been Set On Fire by Truth brought to us by Dr Jim. This morning we sang four songs before devotions were given.
1. Obrigado Jesus
2. Cinco Letras Maravilhosas
3. A Alegria
4. Tu Es Digno
Devotions, Jesus is Merciful, mindful of what our minds focus on…think ungodly=live ungodly. Psalm 51: 1-6 written after David and Bathsheba…mercy, and compassion. Luke 23: 41-43. Humility, Jesus offers mercy every day.
Clinic was opened in village #8 Adventista with many people (52) waiting to be seen. We spent about 2.5 hours seeing to the villagers needs, including many children and older people. We saw the last person about 10:45 and pulled out headed for Sao Sebastion about 11 a.m..
Shortly after 3 p.m. we arrived in Sao Sebastion and spent the afternoon walking/riding to Santana’s place to see the greenhouse, Santana’s house and to meet Rosie and her family. Oh, and to see Rosie’s new house. We had a lovely time with Santana, Rosie, Andrew, and their baby girl, Julia.
Their little family joined us for dinner and UNO later that evening. I had the honor of holding Julia while she slept for about 2 hours! I do love babies!
Wednesday morning dawned beautifully and I was blessed to watch a pod of dolphins feeding of the back of the boat. After breakfast we took a group photo and a few of us walked into town to see what we could see. We bought a few things at the bakery after asking for directions since we couldn’t quite remember where it was from our walk yesterday. We enjoyed greeting people as we walked down the street. It was not difficult to tell we were not from here!
After we returned to the boat the guys got the boat ready to head to Manaus!
In total we saw 572 people and provided 264 pairs of reading/sun glasses.
The rest of Wednesday was spent eating, resting, organizing and playing cards. It was sad to say goodbye to Santana and Danielle as they stayed in Sao Sebastian where they live. Tchau for now!