A cruise ship was sailing up the Amazon. It broke down. Normally a ship losing power isn’t too bad. You can just float in the ocean until you fix it. On a river, the current is way too dangerous. So the ship dropped anchor and waited for repairs. The repairs took a few days. The people from the nearest scooted over in their little boats to see what was going on. The captain asked them if they would let the passengers visit their village.
And so Boca de Valeria became a regular stop for cruise ships on the Amazon. The passengers take photos of the local kids and animals, and give them a few dollars each. Then the dollars are converted to local reals, pooled together, and over the years it has paid for a new school, community center and church.
I visited twice in 2011, and each time instead of just taking photos and paying dollar notes, I decided to perform a short juggling show for the kids from the village and all those who had come from the villages close by. Bernardo, the internet manager on the Prinsendam, took some photos of me juggling.
Also Bernardo is Brazilian, so he could act as a very handy translator. We got some kids to guide us to the top of a nearby hill. On the next visit I went on a canoe trip, but I’d lost my camera then, so have no photos.
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