Saturday, January 15, 2011

¿Dónde está la biblioteca?

I spent this past week helping out at the Amazon Library Project, better know as the CCC, Centro de Conocimiento Compartido.  “The main objective of the CCC Library Project is to provide literature and information for the surrounding communities and to foster the enjoyment of reading and its benefits. Library resources include books, magazines, information pamphlets, videos, films, tapes, workshops and field trips. We strive to enrich the daily life and economic situation of the local population.”

CCC Library

Unfortunately the library was closed for inventory while I was there; however, that is why I was there, to help with inventory!  While helping at the library I stayed at Explorama Lodge.  For those of you familiar with the area, the library is on the same side of the Yanamono River as the clinic, so each day I crossed the river either with Nancy in her canoe or with the lodge staff.  (Dr. Nancy Dunn is the founder and director of the Amazon Library Project). Once across the river it is about a 15 minute walk to the library, or when the staff brought me in boats with motors they’d drop me off right in front of the library, on the Amazon River. 

"Stairs" Up to the Library
The View from the Top

The library has a very impressive collection of books for all ages on all subjects.  It was great to see so many children’s classics translated into Spanish, as well as many books by Peruvian authors as well.  I was happy to see two volumes of the Wizard of Oz series, those were my favorite!  The inventory took us four days to complete- it is a large collection!  I had to get familiar with the Dewey Decimal System again, fortunately I like organizing and putting things in order. 

Inside the Library

The library has custom made shelves.  They are made out of cedar to keep insect damage down and they have screens that roll down and latch at the bottom, and doors with padlocks.  The screens are to keep out cockroaches and frogs!  I guess they used to have a problem with frogs getting into the cabinets, but not being able to get out, and they wouldn’t know they were in there until they could smell them.  

Shelf with the Screen Down
With the Screen Up

Each day we were accompanied by Bombona and Maraca, Nancy’s fearless dogs!  I thought working in a library would be a relatively clean activity for the jungle, but Bombona and Maraca are very affectionate, attention-loving dogs and each time they’d return from some adventure in the jungle, they’d want some lap time! 

Bombona and Maraca

One morning I arrived before Nancy so I spent some time taking pictures.  I ran into a little girl who told me her family has an anaconda and she invited me to come see it.  It was actually a red tailed boa.  It was a little sad to see this massive snake that has to spend his life in a little wooden box.  The family uses the boa as a source of income, people pay to see it.  Of course this family has almost nothing, having an attraction like a boa is a pretty sweet deal for them.  It was impressive though, the little girl’s father tapped it on the head with a stick to upset it and it started “hissing”, if you can even call it that, it was more like a roar!  They offered to let me hold it around my neck, I declined, it was pretty pissed off!

Red Tailed Boa

I also had a close encounter with some bats.  All week I thought I felt them swooping under my bed in the early morning, but I told myself they were probably big moths.  The last morning I was there I checked, and sure enough there were bats living under my bed.  I was protected by my mosquito net and rabies vaccine, so it was ok! 


It sounds like I will be spending more time at the library in April, maybe a month or two!  The library has a great volunteer house, however right now I am thinking I’d rather stay at the lodge, to be around people and the internet. 

Volunteer House


  1. That snake makes me sad and gives me ulcers all at the same time.

  2. Agreed. That snake is scary!!!