• Mapiá River – Visiting the hidden corners of our REDD+ project

    The Trocano Araretama is a rainforest conservation project in Borba, Brazil, that focuses on social, biodiversity and carbon benefits. The region is an area of high biodiversity, pristine jungle and amazing natural beauty. Here, Seán Greif recounts a trip in one such area, travelling up the serene Mapiá River.

    Day 10: The boat was a welcome change from Goiano’s motorbike. Even covered in suncream, I could feel my skin beginning to burn, as we were under the full strength of the midday sun. Our adventure started with a more than personal glimpse of biodiversity when, after about fifteen minutes, our boat driver let out a shriek and stopped the boat suddenly. The force of this sent a small wave up through the boat, and with it, a water snake surfing between my feet. We had to repeat the exercise of sudden stops until we finally managed to get rid of our unwelcome hitchhiker, as I frantically asked if our stowaway was venomous.

    Mapiá River

    House on the serene Mapiá River. Photo: Seán Greif/CGV

    The dark river was in flood, creating a maze of roots, branches and trees that were impossible to navigate. The region was a complete contrast to the road we took there, with lush dense rainforest covering the banks, fish leaping from the water and a choir of birds overhead. After about four hours, we arrived at the Barrigudo community in a picturesque location at the meeting of two small rivers. After disembarking, Mesias, an agricultural technician from IDAM, went about providing assistance to a local farmer, while myself and Goiano were shown around the community.

    We ended the discussions on the project and we bade farewell and took to the river once more, to make it back before dark. However, our early departure was in vain, as darkness fell around same time as our engine gave up the ghost. And we sat, bobbing in the silence and the fading light, until Mesias revived the engine.

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    Mother and child from Barrigudo Community. Seán Greif/CGV

    We slowed to a snail’s pace and with a failing, flickering torch, we wound our way through the maze. The darkness was broken only by the streaks of lightning from the approaching storm, and a nervous silence descended on our feeble little boat. It was with great relief that we pulled up underneath the welcoming glow of the homely lights from where our journey began, leaving a trail of disappointed mosquitos in our wake.

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