I have finally made it to the jungle – to Puerto Alegria and the city of Iquitos!
Instead of traveling between all the Girasoles homes with different work teams as I did last year, it was decided to send three site coordinators to the three SU sites where most of the work teams will be visiting – Kusi, Cusco and Puerto Alegria. Due to differing schedules and me wanting/needing to travel with the group from Dearborn, I was delayed in making it up to Puerto Alegria until last Monday when I arrived with a team from Philadelphia.
The Puerto Alegria site is 40 minutes from the city of Iquitos down the Itaya River. Because we are so far out from the city, there is no constant electricity (the generator is turned on every night around dinner and runs until 10pm), cell phone service is pretty low and all our water comes from the river. It shall be a test in keeping myself busy and a very slow lifestyle!
There are approximately 37 boys at the home in Puerto Alegria that live with the house parents Gene and Patty, and their two children Kanny and Josue. When the boys are not in school, they entertain themselves with games, soccer, swimming in the river and playing soccer.
Since we are in the Amazon jungle, the weather is mostly hot and humid, with lots of rain. Yesterday alone it rained over 5 times throughout the day, which made for an interesting and muddy afternoon soccer game!
Not only is it hot, there are tons of mosquitos, cockroaches and every other type of bug possible. Thankfully, I only ever see the mosquitos around dusk time, and the cucarachas only at night. Despite this, I have still have plenty of mosquito bites!
Since I´ll be here in Puerto Alegria for the next 6 weeks, I´ll have plenty of time to get to know the Girasoles boys, Gene and Patty, the three educators that live at Puerto Alegria and assist Gene and Patty with the boys and a little bit of the city of Iquitos.