Jorge learned about jungle plants and animals from his father… who learned the local environment from his father, in an unbroken legacy that extends backwards in time at least several generations.
Jorge was born in Peru and has lived here all his life. I read many glowing reports in a notebook he carries in a small backpack. They were obviously genuine, written by a variety of young people. Some in French. One from a young Canadian lady. The reports were handwritten descriptions of their experiences in the words of people who went into the jungle with Jorge.
I spent an hour or so with him. He was not the least bit pushy. I sensed in him an extraordinary quiet strength and calm. He was straightforward in his answers to my questions.
He did not blink nor hesitate when describing the reality of modern times. 99% of native peoples wear mass produced clothing, use mass produced tools, and have gone to some form of government public school. They all have ready access to transportation and will often visit larger towns and cities. The children have all seen TV, listened to popular music on radio and mp3 players, play video games, and use the internet when in town. They use money to buy things that they don’t produce, like anyone else. They get their money from selling local produce, logging, fishing and tourism.
It is also true that many people who have a tribal heritage still live close to the jungle. Whether that decision is determined by preference or primarily by economic limitation I did not ask. Perhaps a combination of those reasons.
People like Jorge have a foot in and know a great deal about two distinct ways of life. Jorge could, no doubt provide all the food necessary for his family from jungle sources. Yet, there are benefits to maintaining a presence in the city. His relationship with Javier and the Casa Del Frances hostel provides him with clientele.
He uses the money the same way any responsible husband and father does. He is a valuable man. He shares his knowledge with the clients who enter the jungle environment with him.
Early tomorrow morning I will arrive at Casa Del Frances and store my bags there with Javier. It is a secure place. It has a reputation to keep. Backpackers read online comments. After securing my two bags there Jorge and I will get a van to Nauta. In Nauta we will get on a boat that will take us to Jorges village and home. I will meet his family and make forays into the jungle with Jorge.
The tour business is different from, but located in hostel La Casa Del Frances. It is painted yellow and is within two blocks of the Plaza de Armas (center of Iquitos) The hostel caters to young international backpackers. The man who wrote my ticket and who manages the hostel and lives there with his wife is Javier.
Will be offline for five or six days. Will take extra batteries and use the Spot device often.
Will take lots of photos and a vid or two. Will post photos and text about my experience when I return.