Mother Nature has certainly been committed to getting our attention lately… the last couple years have been riddled with an overwhelming amount of natural disasters.
I believe that all this is cyclical when speaking in terms of the “big picture”, but am also aware that it’s a cycle that none of us have been around long enough to experience before. In my line of work, these are the types of things that I think about late at night. That said, I am happy that we’ve created a platform (W4W) in which we can help the people adjust and adapt to whatever the universe throws at them next… because all of this stuff seems stranger than fiction at times, and then we start to rethink and adapt to the change… ultimately allowing us to persevere.
There is nothing easy about doing a trip like this. Travel to this specific region of the Amazon is painfully long any way you slice it… I did the math and from LA to our final destination (anchorage on the river) is over 60 hours of travel. But in my opinion it is always the hard journeys that we remember. Adversity has a damn fine way of leaving it’s mark on us… testing us… allowing us to see who we really are… and more importantly, who we want to become.
After countless hours of travel we boarded the Rey Benedito (our boat/home for the next 5 days), in the city of Macapa. The boat was a three story steel beast with all the Amazonian charm we could have hoped for – I swear there were colonies of insects that were entirely indigenous to that boat. Almost any boat on the Amazon is set up for its passengers to sleep on open decks in hammocks. The Rey Benedito was no different – Once on board, our entire crew claimed slivers of space next to one another on the second deck. Each sliver was equipped with a hammock and mosquito net to drape over the top. It is awesome to watch how people adapt to a new environment – the methods in which they create a familiar and secure space in an unfamiliar setting. In this case everyone was given the same amount of space… and tools (hammocks, netting, and rope)… but each persons approach in transforming the space into their own, was remarkably different. It’s a psychological experiment really…
As I said before the concept for our mission to the Amazon was simple – surf the infamous Pororoca (tidal bore wave created by extreme tides during a full moon) and deliver water filters to riverside villagers along the way. Obviously this environment was far different than most of the places we’ve worked before – Haiti, Pakistan, Japan, etc… and the way we approached our work this time was significantly different as well. Most places we go, there is limited access to water period – clean or dirty! In this case, there is an abundance of water… it’s all around you… everywhere… actually, it is one of the biggest sources of fresh water on our planet – it’s just not clean to drink.
There were a lot of firsts on this trip but I can say for sure that we have NEVER rode the water we cleaned. For five days we lived on and surfed the very water that we drank. In my opinion this was a huge breakthrough in the work that we do. If we launch a program that focuses on all the abundant fresh water sources around the world… and taught people how to clean it – the number of senseless deaths (whom are mostly children) in those regions would be incredibly reduced, if not completely eradicated.
I say this all the time but any death related to dirty water is an utter shame. There is simple technology that already exists – like the filters we use – that can prevent these deaths in an instant.
To be continued…