Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Cutting gardens in the Amazon

The Indians of the amazon are mostly slash and burn agricultural farmers. The main food is the yucca plant which is the root used for making bread and even drinks. Each family will have two to three gardens in various stages at any given time. Every year the village comes together to cut new gardens as each clan will need to cut several acres of virgin forest every dry season.

Canoe loads of people leave each morning to cut a new garden. The men will take their axes or machetes and the women will carry along water pots and cooking utensils.

Women preparing yucuta, a drink made from the yucca plant ,which will be given to the working men for refreshment.

Serving men drinks from gourds.

The cool drink is welcome, as the temperature is over 95* and in the virgin forest, the atmosphere is like a sauna.

Each man begins working on cutting down his own tree.

Pastor Victor keeps an eye on the work of the younger men. Each year someone will be injured, snake bitten, or killed during the conuco cutting time. But without the garden, they will starve.

Victor's son, Carlos begins work.

Taking a break from the hard work.

Ready to get started!

Making progress!

Nearly there!

Seeing the finished work. Now the women will cut the trees for fire wood.

Heading back to the canoes.


Findalis said...

I wish some of the so-called environmentalists would read this. They keep screaming about cut and burn farming, but these people have been doing it for generations. Why haven't they destroyed the rain forests if the environmentalists are right?

redneck preacher said...

A good post. Include this in your book.


CrimeSceneFairy said...

I love pictures!

Thursday's Child said...

I don't think it's the "natives" that they're worried about, but rather those who cut down massive amounts for lumber, expanding into the jungle, etc.

Neat post, Rita! Keep 'em coming!

Humble wife said...

I love post like this!
pen of jen

Brenda said...

Love these pictures. Those are some muscles on that guy Carlos.

Did you eat lots of yuca? I was under the impression it does not have very much nutritional value.

Tori Leslie said...

Hey that's pretty cool, thanks for sharing.

Rita Loca said...

what you are witnessing is the health improvements coming from malaria fumigation vaccines, and anti biotic. These all allow for better growth and health. Also, the village had raised chicken and sheep by this time and everyone was eating more protein.

Gayle said...

This post makes me want to send them chain saws, Rita! Good grief!

But many of our men could use a workout like this. It would do them a world of good. It's an interesting post, and makes me very grateful for all that I have. Still, they have something that has all but been lost in our culture and that's the closeness that they share with one another. They aren't stuck to cell phones 24/7! They actually talk to each other. LOL! Imagine that!

Anonymous said...

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Betty said...

Very interesting post. We eat yuca here too and love it. It´s like rice is to the Chinese, yuca is to the paraguayen people.

Anonymous said...

Those are some tough looking hombres.

WomanHonorThyself said...

I'm gettin tired just looking hun..ha what a city girl I am!..bwhaha!

Unknown said...

I have one of those orange looking gourds Do you remember you gave it to me off of your display table? I remember you telling me they're used like "dixie disposable cups"!