On Sunday, Gilberto took us on a walk through the rainforest!! His island is 430 acres but he only uses a very small clearing for his house and facilities. The rest, he says, is for the monkeys and other animals to live freely without being in danger.
We were warned to cover up as the mosquitoes would be worse in the jungle. Not comprehending how they could be worse, we did the only thing we could think of, which was wear more clothes. After putting on 3 pairs of pants, two long sleeve shirts, a jacket and rubber boots, it was time for our hike.
The scenery was breathtaking. Every tree was different and the abundance of life was astonishing. Gilberto showed us the trees he’s planted, and he used his machete to chop down star fruit, cacao and sweet lemons for us to taste. We gorged ourselves on jungle fruit as we trudged through ponds and dodged mosquitos. There were thousands!
Gilberto lead us to his field where they cultivate fruit for his family and the monkeys. In May 2012, the river flooded at record levels and many of his fruit trees died. They now have to buy all of the monkey’s food in the Iquitos market, at a 40% price increase! He is slowly in the process of planting more whenever he gets extra money.
On our way back Gilberto made us each take two fallen palm nuts back with us, which he later had us plant. He said he will remember us when the trees grow. I can’t believe I now have two of my very own trees in the Amazon rainforest!