I have decided to start this blog as an alternative to update e-mails in order to keep in touch with friends and family. The name of my blog comes from the Talking Heads song “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”. (Click here to listen) It is one of my favorite songs and always makes me think of the Amazon. My brother Tim swiped my dad’s Talking Heads cd and brought it with him on our first trip to Peru back in 1998. Now whenever I hear that album it reminds me of my first experiences here. (Another song that often makes me think of Peru is David Bowie’s “Dead Man Walking”, but that’s more related to feelings along the Inca Trail!)
I have been in Peru for about 3 weeks now, I am hoping to stay for about a year. I am working as a volunteer for a non-profit organization that is just starting out. The organization is called AVIDA and it is dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural Amazonian communities. AVIDA’s primary projects in these communities will be building mini water treatment plants to provide clean drinking water to all residents. AVIDA has completed water projects in two communities, and we are hoping to start more projects in January. Ideally, once the organization becomes more established, I will be a paid employee. Currently we are working on setting up our website and looking for donors! Since there is not a lot of work for me right now, I am also looking for other volunteer opportunities in Iquitos.
I live with a great family here in Iquitos- Marcos and Ruth and their 3 sons, Ramsés (7), Nicholas (5). and Jordan (1 ½). Marcos is one of the founders of AVIDA, he works for another non-profit in Iquitos and has a purified water business. Ruth is a stay at home mom, but also sells jello and ice from the house. Also, Ruth’s father Gilberto spends Monday though Saturday at the house, helping out. If you check out my flickr photos you will also see Liz, she used to work here, but has since been replaced by a girl named Rosa. Overall they are a wonderful family and made me feel at home here right away. I’m very excited to be here in Iquitos, I have wanted to live here since I was 17! I’m loving it so far, despite the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes!