My First Real Rainforest Experience
I went to the deep rainforest for the first time in 2006. I was extremely excited about this journey. My friend Christopher from Wisconsin and I had planned this trip for after finishing my graduate studies at Michigan Tech. We went to Tierras Orientales which is in the Sucumbíos province in northern Ecuador near the border with Colombia. We had no internet access, no cell phone coverage, limited amounts of electricity throughout the day, and an "all you can eat buffet" of fresh products from the rainforest.
Although I was born and raised in Ecuador, I was as amazed as Chris about how different life in this part of the country was. I must say people in this part of the country don't have access to many technological advances that make our lives so much easier everyday. For example, any time people in Tierras Orientales needed medical attention or anything from the hardware store, it would mean a long-trip up the river to Nueva Loja to satisfy these needs.
On the other hand, the resources that the river and the rainforest brings to you are vast. We had fresh fish everyday from the river and many fruits that I had never seen before. At night, we often had sights of big snakes, tarantulas, ocelots, bull-frogs and other species. This was a surreal experience!
In addition to the all the obvious resources the rainforest provides, the South American rainforest is a vast source of millions of plant species. Less than 10% of all plant species have been studied for potential cure to diseases that affect human lives all over the world. We believe it is important to work on using the resources that come from the rainforest sustainably.