THE RISE AND FALL OF THE AMAZON – II

During the month of February and May, the water level rises which allow the traders to come into the Urarinas basin which was not possible during low water with their boats. The villages on the lower part of the Cambria are flooded during this time of year, but some of the houses are built above the high water mark. The traders are a welcome sight for the Indians as they now can trade for items they want and need. The items from the traders include, aguardiente (sugar cane whiskey), flashlights batteries’, machetes rice just to name a few. The trading with whiskey is very similar to what the mountain men traded with our Indians. Very little cash is used in the exchange of items as the Urarinas have little use for it & there are no store or place to spend cash. One of the big items that the traders are interested in is the Chanta (Heart of Palm). As the trader moves upstream, he makes his deal for Chanta with each village and when he has made enough deals, he will start back downstream picking up the chance as he will want to get the chance to Iquitos in 7 to 10 days. They will also trade for their handicrafts, chickens, pigs, and platens. Also during high water, I have seen on the large balsa rafts which they will live on carrying fruit, small coral with pigs and chickens, but mainly the rafts will be loaded with plantains. This trip will take them about 8 days and upon arrival in Iquitos, they will abandon the raft and with the cash buying items they need plus passage on one of the local launches that travel to their area for a return trip back to their village.

Comments are closed.