A boat ride up the Amazon River can be adventurous enough. It is an entirely different experience when you cram 30 hammocks in a space that can comfortably fit 15 and then have 2-3 people per hammock.
This would be our ferry ride. 9 hours later, we arrived in Limão do Curuá, deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest.
It was here we would meet up with the Whole Foods team member volunteers who had been helping finish the construction of a new school in the community. They also built an amazing vegetable garden on stilts to accommodate the rivers tides. This brought the concept of raised garden beds to a whole new level. Every year, Sambazon sets aside % of the cost of fruit it purchases from family farmers. Those funds are then put back into those communities most in need of things like construction and repairs schools and medical clinics, in addition to donated items.
Access to clean drinking water can also be a challenge for many of these remote communities. In partnership with Waves for Water, we distributed clean water filters to many of the families.
Our last day in Limão do Curuá would find us putting the finishing touches on the school project just in time for its inauguration that afternoon. Everyone from the community was in attendance and the mayor even flew in for the ceremonies. That night we celebrated with a Brazilian feast thanks to our hosts and prepared for the 10pm departure and our 9 hour river boat ride back to Macapa.
It was such an honor to experience an entirely new culture and way of life while giving back to the families and farmers who make Sambazon possible. Any barriers of language were easily overcome by a shared sense of humanity, kindness and passion for life. Travel to far away places, especially those not as developed as our own, always makes me return with a new frame of reference on life and the things that matter most, or rather that the things that matter most are usually not things.