Written by: Haleema Molberg
I first heard about Iquitos through a warning from the American Embassy regarding the March kidnapping of a Peruvian businessman and ongoing threats to Americans. Despite this, Tiffany and I booked a flight to this landlocked city tucked into the corner bordering Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador (accessible only via air and boat – no roads connect it with anything), as it was the key to the Amazonian Jungle of Peru.
The first leg of our trip was a mere 1.5 hour flight. From there, we took a 3+ hour boat ride up the bright-orange water of the Amazon River and the Tahuayo, a dark, murky, insanely humid and remote tributary that doesn’t even show up on most maps.
We hunted for caimans, spotted bizarre Hoatzin birds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoatzin), caught piranhas, and donated at least 3 pints of blood to the poor, starving mosquitoes, most of which I enjoyed immensely.
As you know, our project is focusing on strengthening female entrepreneurs in Peru, and as the first team the geographical scope of our project is limited to Lima and its suburbs. However, an opportunity presented itself during our Amazon tour, which gave us insight to micro empresas in the upper Amazon.
The night before we left the Jungle, Tiffany and I visited a Shaman to receive a blessing and be cleansed of evil spirits. While there, we learned that this little old lady was not only a Shaman, but also raised money through selling hand-made baskets to tourists. This may not be the type of woman that MiBanco is looking for, but it was living proof that the entrepreneurial spirit in Peru is alive and well.