It’s a rustic six weeks of service for SSTers Nate and Serena, who are living about as far off the grid (no phone, no Internet, no electricity, no road access) as they can in Azulis, a community of about 30 Yanesha families in the department of Pasco. Azulis is about a 2-hour drive from Villa Rica, the nearest town, and then another 50 minutes of walking through the jungle. Nate and Serena packed in their mosquito nets, knee-high rubber boots, and can-do attitude for their stay in this rainforest community.
Serena has been working with the Instituto Etnobotanico Yanesha, where she has been helping to identify medicinal plants, protect forest resources, and promote sustainable development. She works at her family’s chakra (family garden) in the foothills a half mile from her house. In her spare time she has been making straw escobas (brooms) with her host mother, Dominga.
Nate has been working at the community school, where he has been teaching English to students between the ages of 7 and 11. He’s also learning some Yanesha, the indiginous language, and planning to do his final project on the relationship between the Yanesha and Spanish languages. In his leisure time, Nate has enjoyed hiking in the jungle and fishing in the nearby river (at last report he had caught seven fish).
Not only is the river a major source of food for Azulis residents, it’s also where community members, including Nate and Serena, wash their laundry.