by Luke, in Peru
30th October, 2009

I did wonder whether dipping into the waters of the Amazon was a great idea considering all the creatures that lurk within its murky depths but Caesar (our captain) only knew of one fisherman who had been eaten by piranhas and considering all the villagers bathe and wash in the water daily we figured it would be a fairly safe bet. We took the speedboat out to the middle of the river and jumped in. It was fantastic – the current was incredible but we swam with it for about half a mile or so and had a great time leaping in and out of the speedboat which kept pace with us – particularly Annie and Molly who plunged into the water without hesitation and then proceeded to repeatedly clamber in and out of the boat jumping in with ear piercing shrieks. Quite what the local tribes thought of us all I have no idea but I suspect our mental health was in question. It served a dual purpose – a chance to wash our clothes as well as a refreshing break.

Sabrina didn’t make it. It was incredibly sad and we were all immensely disappointed. Having bonded with her over the last few days and sat up through the night with her, we all thought she was picking up, but the trauma of the boat ride, the oppressive heat and the huge surgeries she had been through were simply too much. Perhaps it was a mistake to have put her through the operation but we had had little choice and she was suffering. She wasn’t in pain when she passed away but although we did our absolute best, it was sad she was with a group of strangers at the end. It was very tough for everyone and we all felt very low after her passing.

The village dogs were a mixed bag. Some of them tough jungle hunting dogs, razor teeth and fairly unhandlable by anyone except their owners – equally tough Peruvians, whip thin hard young men, packed with lean muscle and scarred with tribal tattoos. Annie and I worked through them, pulling out three inch worms that had buried themselves in the dogs back – larvae of a fly that lays its eggs under the skin. I’ve seen them before but never this big, nor so many. Very satisfying to get them out.

The final mission was to vaccinate some buffalo against rabies. Apparently bats bite them and it’s a genuine risk so we went on a mission to get it done.
Just arrived back in Iquitos, time for a hot shower and few local beers.

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