We never get tired of saying that every traveller needs to go to the Amazon once in a lifetime. The feeling of belonging to that immense tropical forest, surrounded by rivers, waters and freshwater beaches, is almost magical. But the experience gets even more enchanting when we have the opportunity get close to the traditional people who live there and discover the fantastic cultural production and initiatives that make both communities and forests prevail.
We have just returned from a transformative experience in the Amazon, Pará, where we ‘ve unveiled the charms of Alter do Chão. Transformstive because, in addition to inspiring landscapes, river beds and trails through the woods, we had the opportunity to experience meetings and connections with people who struggle daily to keep their roots alive and preserve our Brazilian Amazon. The group of travellers, which brought together social entrepreneurs and opinion makers, provided an even more intense exchange among all.
In such a critical and unstable moment for the planet’s greatest biome and its peoples, meeting initiatives and cultures of resistance, which surpass great opposing forces, is to gain inspiration to join them in this challenge. Nothing more assertive than the famous expression “know to preserve”.
On board of a boat that sails through the calm waters of the Tapajós and Arapiuns rivers, we were able to reach three incredible riverside communities, São Francisco, Atodi and Urucureá, and also visit the indigenous village of Zaire in the Lower Tapajós. The isolation and direct contact with nature make it easy for these peoples to preserve their traditions, such as the fantastic handicrafts of Tucumã developed in Urucureá.
These communities are assisted by the project Saúde e Alegria, developed by the physician Eugênio Scannavino, who, since 1987, has been carrying out integrated programs of education, culture, health, income generation, basic sanitation, digital inclusion and human rights for various peoples of the Amazon. The presence of Eugenio himself in our experience has helped us to realise the positive impacts that projects like this have brought to local preservation and also how tourism can also take, boosting these impacts.
We visited one of the hospital ships, Abaré, a project that serves 15 thousand people in 72 different communities in the rural areas of Santarém, Belterra and Aveiro. It brings health to places where the public network does not reach. We also went to one of the 97 community libraries of the Vaga Lume project, a pioneering initiative that empowers children in the Amazon by encouraging reading habits.
We came back but we didn’t want to leave. We arrived inspired, transformed, motivated and more aware. We are willing to do our part even more so that the Amazon remains strong and alive! Since this incredible experience, our group of social entrepreneurs is now confident to share and multiply the discoveries and support the preservation of the Amazon.