You can’t really know where you are going
until you know where you have been.
Amazon Pueblo’s founder first visited the indigenous village of La Libertad in December of 2009 as a tourist. La Libertad is located in the Colombian Amazon. The difficulty of the life in the village due to extreme poverty was directly opposed by the outward happiness of the people.
The village was founded in 1995 by five families seeking a village free from violence and oppression. While the village has made some improvements in their standard of living, they still have frequent problems of poor employment opportunities, substandard education, poor healthcare, and substance abuse. Amazon Pueblo strives to help the people of La Libertad, and surrounding communities, to solve their own problems by supporting the education of the youth.
Many of the timeline entries after 2010 have links to their original blog posts. Please read these if you would like more details!
Founder of Amazon Pueblo arrives in the village of La Libertad for a four-day village homestay and jungle hike. He noted many conditions of poverty, but also the vast resources and possibilities of the area.
Class at University of Maine
Amazon Pueblo founder takes a class at the University of Maine, Augusta (Rockland Center), Human Ecology & the Future. The final project for the class involved making a website to highlight the ecological challenges found in the village and some possible solutions.
Planning for the future
The project goes forward! Deciding to try to implement the plan to help the village, a group of childhood friends joins the effort which will become Amazon Pueblo. We raised money to build a guest house, buy a solar battery charger, and talked to the community of La Libertad to discuss ways to proceed.
First volunteer in new guest house
In January of 2011 the villagers completed construction of the guesthouse. Our first volunteer, Sarah J from Portugal, arrived in the La Libertad. She helped with some light construction and logistical support.
We also started the Amazon Pueblo blog, to which this and future timeline entries link!
First major fundraiser a success!
Primo Cubano rocked the house at Billy's Tavern, in Thomaston, ME! At times there was standing room only. We had periodic raffle drawings for prizes ranging from Colombian emeralds, exclusive Colombian coffee, handmade Amazonian jewelry, to piranha skull necklaces and Amazonian blowguns!
Mission Change! Problems in the village following a summer of progress.
We stopped sending volunteers to La Libertad. Narcotics traffickers were living in La Libertad. We also had problems with alcohol abuse incidents by some villagers that negatively affected our work. These and other issues led to the revision of our mission to focus on the education of the youth.
Amazon Pueblo joins with the NGO Funmi-roca in Leticia, Amazonas
We joined with the Colombia nonprofit Funmi-roca (Gracia Freddy!). They have a mission which is similar to ours, supporting development through education and sustainability. This partnership allows us to work in other areas of the Amazon, outside of the village of La Libertad.
Student Scholarship Program expands to 23 students
We supported 23 students for the 2019 school year! Our students are indigenous youth who live in La Libertad and Leticia in Colombia, Caballococha in Peru, and in Tabatinga, Brazil. We hope to raise this to at least 25 students for the next school year.
Sports days on the Amazon River
The school frequently borrows our cargo boat. We maintain the boat and loan it when it is needed by the school or for some community events. During the Sports Days of this year, we also loaned the use of our motor. This allowed transportation for every student, parent, or spectator who wanted to go.
Covid food relief during the quarantine
After three months of strict quarantine in Leticia, we returned to the village with food relief. The income of the villagers had been devastated by the Covid restrictions, which eliminated travel and tourism. The thing that we found most shocking upon arrival was the weight loss experienced by the villagers, especially the children.