• Amazon schoolchildren don’t just hop on the school bus

    Amazon schoolchildren don’t just hop on the school bus

    The Trocano Araretama project protects natural capital in a vast area (see a detailed map of Trocano Araretama Conservation Project here) in the Brazilian rainforest in the province of Amazonas. While the project is carefully designed to protect biodiversity and forestry, none of this is possible without the dedication and hard work of the people who live there. Borba is a part of the Amazonas state which has Manaus as its capital city. It is on the banks of the Madeira river (Portuguese: Rio Madeira), which is an important tributary of the Amazon.

    Amazon Schoolchildren Paddle to School

    Because it is so deep in the Amazon basin (over 200km from the capital), the area has few roads and people get around by river. Some communities are so small, the school children have to paddle to class in another, nearby community. They mainly use the traditional canoe for every-day purposes.

    Resilient People

    Living in and preserving the pristine jungle is a challenge but these kids take it in their stride. While their commitment helps to preserve the biodiversity and natural capital of the area it also looks like it might be fun, like a scene from the famous children’s book and TV series “The Wind in The Willows” by author Kenneth Grahame when Water Rat says:

    “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

    That is, until it gets scary (see video below) and you realise how resilient the people of the Trocano Araretama project area need to be – just to get to school.

    Like Riding A Bike

    They start to master the art of the canoe as youths, around the same age kids in European countries and America learn to ride a bike. These kids from the Barrigudo community on the Mapia river display impressive skill and confidence on the water from an early age.

    1 Kids paddling canoes is an everyday thing in Barrigudo.

    “Simply messing about in boats.”

    Kid Paddles Canoe Amazon Trocano Aratema CGV

    2. As is meeting your friends on the river, also out paddling in their canoe.

    Everybody is having an adventure today!

    Amazon people river canoe meet Trocano Aratema

    3. The canoes are of a traditional design.

    They are necessary for living in a place where roads are almost non-existent.

    Typical Amazon river canoe Trocano Aratema CGV

    4. These kids live in a tiny settlement in the Amazon region.

    This village is home to 12 families.

    Barrigudo is a tiny settlement in Trocano Aratema

    5. Because they live in isolated communities, often kids need to go to school by canoe.

    They have to be resilient.

    Barrigudo families live together in tiny settlement, Trocano Aratema

    6. These young ‘uns will take to the river like a duck takes to water.

    They’ll have to row their own boats one day.

    Barrigudo, pre-school children, Trocano Aratema

    7. Perhaps one day they’ll be as good as their big sisters who make a canoe-to-canoe transfer look like a piece of cake.

    Remember, you don’t want to fall into the water, you don’t know what could be swimming around in there.

    Amazon River Transfer CGV8. All this “messing about in boats” comes in handy later when the schoolchildren want to hitch a ride on the river.

    The motorboat approaches the three schoolchildren in the canoe at a fair clip and at first it looks like there is going to be a collision – the viewer is on the edge of their seat. But, not to worry, these Amazon kids have it all under control and there is a surprise in store (30 sec video).

    Schoolkids in the Trocano Araretama region hitch a ride to school

    For more information, visit the Trocano Araretama project website here.

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