The River suddenly appeared like a huge Anaconda in the middle of the thickest forest you could imagine. It was a beautiful sight that reached me as we broke through the clouds covering the greatest rainforest we have: the Amazon jungle – the lungs of the earth. The Amazon Jungle and the Amazon River are probably the most spectacular natural resources of entire Latin America, if not of the entire world. Naturally, it’s one of the New Natural Wonders of the world. Without knowing what I was photographing from the plane, I managed to capture both the Brazilian and the Colombian harbor to the Amazon River in the same pictures.
Surprisingly, more average Colombians than what you’d suspect live here. Many have found their place in life in this incredible area of peace by just touristing the country. Others are second or third generation in-country immigrants, who have happily lived here all their lives, taking advantage of opportunities that few have sought.
A minority still live in the jungle, in small communities of around 200-300 people, grown out of a few families that still live in primitive conditions. A great surprise, though, is that some of these primitive surroundings, found in the middle of the jungle, have relatively developed schools with something such amazing as… the Internet! Although with only a few computers, time will let these communities develop and continue to get civilized, very likely with the help of government programs that, although not serving all the most needed, might have some positive impact on these indigenous entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit has indeed found them.
As we entered the community after about an hour’s walk in the jungle, it didn’t take many seconds for the most dedicated mothers to roll up their merchandise before us. Having had no idea of the beautiful paintings and handicraft, 100% natural and handmade, that would be presented, no cash had been brought and we could offer sweets and cookies to the very grateful children.
Within the capitals of the Amazonia, Leticia on the Colombian side and Tabatinga on the Brazilian side, business has also grown to reach incredible levels. Besides beautiful handicraft sold in most street shops, among the latest technology, cell phones, digital cameras, LCD TVs and computers are sold as basically everywhere else in the country. Hotels with all commodities and tourism agencies with the most exiting tours are also widely offered to national and foreign tourists. Among the most popular tours are kayaking along the river, climbing and sleepover in incredible trees, pink dolphin watching, visiting the island of the monkeys, night-walking in the jungle, boating and swimming in the river.
New hostels in the jungle are being built and prepared for the growing tourism, seemingly in favor of a positive future for many of the locals. Unfortunately, some indigenous tribes might not agree with the civilization taking over their territories, as roads are being extended into the jungle. I will research this area for an upcoming article on how nature is been sacrificed in exchange for people enjoying increased standards of living.
The government is subsidizing financially those indigenous people, who seek a future in the city. I got to see a complete factory of handicrafts that already exists, where a great quantity of handmade products are sold to the different shops in the Amazonia, but also to nation-wide entrepreneurs, who resell them in the larger cities of the country. With the right contacts, these products handmade in the Amazonia might see a prosperous future in the rest of the world. The Amazonia surely is a brand that sells. The river, the animals and the jungle are strong attributes of this amazing place of the earth. Hopefully, the future holds a positive development for all its inhabitants.
On Colombian development and opportunities,