Monday, July 06, 2009

Slash and Burn Agriculture

Indians cutting gardens (conucos) in the jungle

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.


Kathy said...

How nice to see them all working together! They do what they need to do and it looks like there are no complainers! Were most of these people in the pictures Christians? Do you stay in touch with any of them, and if so, how? Thanks for the nice post.

redneck preacher said...

Good post and good pictures and I am sure good memories for you and your crew.


Joy said...

Thanks for this look into their lives and how this is such an important part of their lives.


Brooke said...

It is awesome to see an entire community come together like that!

Brenda said...

What does the yucca drink taste like? Does it give them energy? Do they mix other stuff with it?

Bob's Blog said...

Yucca plants also grow all over the place here on the high plains of Colorado, including on our property. I wonder if it has the same nutritional value as the yucca plants in the jungle.

Unknown said...

Carlos reminds me alot of Roel from the side profile. Nice photos.