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September 1994

September 17, 1994 (Saturday)

Flight to La Pedrera $70,000 in charter DC6. We arrived in very bad weather, heavy rain and low ceiling. Top of mountain was covered by clouds. Had to circle for 15 minutes before finally landing. The plane was damaged on landing. A rim of one of the tires cracked. Also a hydraulic pump broke, and one motor stopped working. Turned out to be a blown piston. All cargo arrived with me.

September 18, 1994 (Sunday)

Talked with Raul who works for GAIA about taking me up to the baradero. He was in agreement but had to talk to Jaime (his boss) first. It turned out that Jaime had orders from Martin not to give the paper project any help so Raul couldn’t take me.

I talked to Fernando in Centro Providenciaexplaining that I needed a lift upriver. He said he would be glad to come. Luis had taken the 40 Yamaha up the Apaporis so Fernando would use the GAIA motor to come get me, but Oscar Forero also had orders not to help the paper project. (Oscar works for GAIA and is doing a project with the communities selling artisenia.) The result was that Fernando had to wait another day before he could come down.

September 19, 1994 (Monday)

Waiting in La Pedrera. Couldn’t communicate with Centro Providencia because Fernando was at the Miriti trying to organize a trip downriver. They ended up using the 27 HP diesel and the big boat.

September 20, 1994 (Tuesday)

I talked with with Sara about leaving La Pedrera with the boat and motor of Caparu. They were waiting for cargo to arrive from Bogotá. But the flight was delayed so we were able to leave about 2:30pm. With their boat, Angel took us upriver. The rapids at Cordova were a bit nasty so we had to unload the cargo in order to pass the boat safely. We transported the cargo above the rapids, reloaded it and continued on, stopping briefly at his family’s house in the community of Cordova.

The weather was very nice. Some showers in the distance and a beautiful sunset. We reached the Bocas del Brazuelo de Miriti about 5:45, which is where we met Fernando coming downriver. We transferred all the cargo to the big wooden boat, sent Angel back to Pedrera and continued upriver with Fernando. There was a full moon and a clear night.

We arrived at the baradero at 1:00am and hung our hammocks in the bodega, while two men traveling with us crossed to Centro Providencia in order to bring people to carry the cargo first thing in the morning.

September 21, 1994 (Wednesday)

We awoke about 6:30 am and had breakfast of bread about 7:00. People arrived from Centro Providencia to carry the cargo. We started out about 8:00 am and arrived at 9:45. The path was in good shape as it hadn’t rained for about two weeks. All the cargo, except the gasoline and plywood arrived. Sara and I bathed and relaxed and organized the cargo.

After lunch, Danta, Fredie, Sara and I went to look at the paper house and discuss the plan to finish construction. Half the floor had been finished, made from bombono palm. The floor made from the palm is called yaripa.

I had hoped the house would be finished but it seems that Mono, who was in charge of the construction, had to leave for the guacaya in order to repair the chain saw of that community. So the work didn’t progress as planned. We rounded up the workers and made plans to begin work the next day.

September 22, 1994 (Thursday)

Eight people showed up to work on the house. Fernando, Danta, Ruben Dareo, Arcadio, juaquin, Ismiel, Jesus, Mauricio, Cesar.

Oscar Forero left to make a trip up the Apaporis. I gave him photos to give to people from La Playa. Work started about 8:30, cleaning the ground of roots and debris.

We carried listones from about one kilometer away, for the floor supports, five in all. We placed the estantillos (vertical supports) in the ground for the two sides and middle. With the chain saw we cut blocks off a large Gruya tree next to the house to use for beating blocks. Work ended about 4:30 pm.

juaquin’s and Danta’s uncle arrived from Araraquara for a visit (Rocky). In the evening we talked in the maloca.

September 23, 1994 (Friday)

Seven people showed up. Danta, Mono, Arcadio, juaquin, Fernando, Mauricio, Ismeil, Ruben Dareo carried gas – 13 gallons – across the Varadero this morning.

We finished placing the vertical supports for the two middle floor supports and attached the five supports to the poles stuck in the ground.

Late morning we went to bring the remaining listones from the woods, a good kilometer away. On the way, Danta was showing Sara the trees which we would be using for paper.

After lunch, Danta went to get his Fariña which was left at the bodega on the Miriti. Mauricio and juaquin went for gasoline. Mono and Arcadio and the rest worked on planing the beams for the floor.

September 24, 1994 (Saturday)

Stripped bark. Tree had been cut two weeks ago. Weight: 196.5 + 205 = 401.5. Fibers were damp, freshly stripped.

Stripped bark and cooked it in Lejia. That measured only ten. After 45 minutes, the pH of the cook was 9. I added a quarter cup of soda ash which brought the pH up to 11 and 11.5.

Work on the house consisted of leveling and fastening the floor beams starting to enclose the kitchen.

PM, Sara, Danta and I went to Arturo’s to talk about the paper project. I expressed my desire that he participate in the project, possibly as the leader. He expressed his interest as well.

September 26, 1994 (25th maybe?)

Meeting at 8:00 am. We discussed all major points related to the paper project and elected Arturo as head of the paper production. Fernando was chosen as secretary, to keep track of records. All in all, the meeting proceeded very well, clarifying how the work would be organized and distributed fairly.

The one point that was left undecided was the percentage of value .

Points to discuss in meeting:

• Food – fish person
• Yuca – maybe each person could contribute a portion?
• Coca – someone to make coca
• Cabildea – Person to head the project, to oversee production

How will this project work: we will produce an amount of paper. I will take it with me to sell for the best price possible and return the money to the community of the paper produced from the fibers collected by individuals that would go to those who collected it.

After the meeting the goods I brought from Bogotá were distributed to those workers that were present. Fredie and Luis assisted in the process.

In the afternoon, Danta, Gonzalo and I washed the fibers of marima blanca de oja ancha that we cooked the previous day. The pH of the water was still around 11. We washed them several times and put them in the fridge to be beaten when we returned from the Bocas.

We also cooked two kinds of fiber from the Bocas. The marima de monte and the colored marima, using soda ash. The colored marima seemed to be much tougher to cook than the white.

September 26, 1994

Travel to the Bocas with Rocky, uncle of Juaquin and Danta (he was motorista for Shultes). We brought Rocky’s sick son to Isaak to be cured of some strange stomach illness that white medicine has no cure for. Also traveling with us was Hilario Yucuna, younger brother of Gonzalo de Miriti. We started out about 10:00 am with Rocky’s 9.9 yamaha and the metal boat of the Health Project. We arrived at Bella Vista at 2:00 and at Bocas at 4:30.

September 27, 1994

José Barasana, Moises-Makuna were chosen as paper workers of Bocas. Eight people had harvested fibers from different types of trees in the area and presented them at the meeting. The quality of the fibers varied somewhat from person to person.

I gave an overview of the work that would happen. Sara described her part in the process. Danta spoke about all the issues of work in Makuna.

In PM we traveled to Luis Letuama’s maloca, twenty minutes upriver from Bocas. Talked about paper project. He is anxious for his community to participate. Moises will work for the Captain Letuamas. We went ten minutes more upriver to Ernesto’s maloca to see if he had collected fibers. But he hadn’t, so we returned home.

In Luis’ maloca Ne, me, Clay Strome, and his wife Ana who are working for Summer Institute (they are from Chicago). Nice people. Gave us coffee and cookies. Tasted Great. Liked the Paper Project and offered to help in any way they could.

It rained all afternoon so we were not able to mark trees of bocas.

September 29, 1994

Work on paper. Danta, Gonzalo, Herman, José, Moises, Arcadio Perea, and Benjamin.

Sonya and Nora brought ash from branches of a mango tree. We passed the water through the ashes once and it measured between 11.5 and 12. We passed the water a second time and it measured 12.

With this Lejia we cooked two types of fiber from Octavio’s and two types of Bella Vista. We also put in one strip of fiber from the tree we cut and brought with us from Bocas (Isak’s rastrojo). Cooking started at 9:50 am.

Patricia took 30 fish hooks #14 for one kilo of coca.

Of the fiber cooked we ended up with 180 grams of good paper fiber. The colored fiber required much washing and repounding. Too much work to be practical. The white fiber was much better.

September 30, 1994

Sent Moises and Herman to get two metal 50 gallon gas cans from the Miriti. Mono and Arcadio went to cut a listone de acapu for the press. Danta, Fernando, Gonzalo, José (son of Arcadio (2)), and Arcadio (2) worked at getting the work space organized, leveling the kitchen floor, making pounding sticks and working with the fibers from Bella Vista. We cooked two pieces of bark of B.V. with the white marima from the tree we cut and brought with us from Isak’s rastrojo

Approximate dimensions of stick brought from Isak’s chagra in Bocas del Pira = 2.2m and 1.6m., ~4cm d(iamter?) at base, ~13.5 cm circ. at base, and ~3.8m total length.