5400 km to Incredible Purity

By Lydie Coeytaux

Since the beginning of my experience in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, more than 5400 km from France, there are some things I would like to share!

The first thing that surprised me is the flora abundance here. The ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest is incredibly rich and regulates itself perfectly. For instance, I have seen ants carrying leaves; they move fallen tree’ leaves at the foot of another, a little further, which allows them to feed the roots of the latter: without it, the second tree could not grow! This floral richness also makes it possible for me to taste exotic fruits like pineapple, dragon fruit, papaya or cocoa beans. Moreover, I have had the opportunity to walk through the forest several times, with a group of very few, and I now know that a guide with a machete is necessary to make a path. Amazing!

Secondly, one can expect the climate to be very humid, and expect to see many rivers around Tena. Personally, I love to bathe so it is a real pleasure, even if the current is often relatively strong and does not allow me to swim, as I would like. A beautiful place I visited is “Laguna Azul” (Blue Lagoon) where a river has formed natural pools. We ultimately were in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, with trees everywhere and this beautiful stream of incredible purity; the moment was just magical.

Through my internship with Aliados, I have had the chance to move around communities, in order to see different ways of life, discover new cultures and interact with locals. Aliados strongly encouraged me to spend one week in total immersion in one of the local communities, which allowed a better understanding of certain cultural topics. The exchange with the community was enriching, even if I needed many sunscreen and mosquito repellent! The experience forced me to practice Spanish and to wake up early for a Guayusa tea drinking ceremony, in order to learn about the ancestral traditions, myths and history between different communities.

Finally, something that I really like here is living in the Aliados house with my roommates. We come from different places (California, Michigan, Australia, and France) and we all have our way of thinking. It is funny for me to see my roommates’ habit of nibbling snacks (especially peanut butter!), while I usually eat 3 times a day starting with salty then sweet! This colocation helps me to improve my English and it is a very good experience to learn about people from all horizons (in addition to people form communities around Tena). In addition, the house is very comfortable and there is a hammock on the terrace, where I particularly like to rest.

To conclude, this internship is an unforgettable experience that allows a person to understand themselves better, in a place far from habitual landmarks. With Aliados, we leave our comfort zone to go to see other horizons and discover the world around us. We go on an adventure, while having fun and keeping some great memories!