Lauren Kabat is a Global Ministries Intern working with the Association Promoting Education and Conservation in Amazonia (APECA). Her appointment is supported by Week of Compassion.
Living and working at APECA's home base located along the Amazon River about 2 hours by boat from Iquitos, Peru, Lauren has had the opportunity to visit and interact with many rural communities while working with APECA on health education projects. The following photos illustrate the way of life in this area of the world and give an idea of both the complexity and necessity of improving health in this region.
Elected by their community members, these representatives from the rural villages are attending one of APECA's health care training sessions. At the training sessions, the students learn topics such as prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various common illnesses and injuries as well as have the opportunity to network and improve their reading and writing skills. This knowledge is then taken back to their communities and shared. Students that attend all of the classes and demonstrate their new knowledge of first aid and proper administration of medicines will be provided with a first aid kit to be used as a community resource. This project is funded by a grant from Week of Compassion!
During APECA's health campaign, we visited many rural communities to investigate some of the most common sicknesses and provide relief for some of the symptoms. This young boy has fungus growing on his feet that will eventually spread up his legs. Although the treatment for this fungal infection is a simple topical anti-fungal cream, many people in rural areas do not have access to the medicine nor the knowledge of natural medicinal treatments to combat this and other common ailments.
In rural communities such as this one located along the Quebrada Tamshiyacu, a tributary of the Amazon River, domestic animals roam free searching for food. While picturesque, the droppings left behind can easily spread parasites to other animals and possibly to the children who play barefoot in the same areas. Even though anemia is common, these animals are rarely eaten by the community members; instead they are transported by boat to a more urban area to be sold. Money earned from the meat's sale at market will buy other crucial items such as gasoline and soap.
In the middle of a hot day, the kids from a rural community show off their jumping and swimming skills in the Quebrada Tamshiyaku, a tributary of the Amazon. This water is also used as a latrine, for drinking, bathing, laundering, fishing and transportation. The balsa wood raft that they are jumping from is about to be taken on a 3 day journey down the Amazon where the wood will be sold.
Here, rice farmers separate the chaff from the grain. The whole family helps with the planting and harvest and then sells it in 70 kilogram bags at market for 14 soles. In USD, this estimates out to be about $0.03 per pound.