Summer in the Amazon Basin

Hello to all,

As I being to make preparations for my Charles Center International Research trip, I thought I would open with a post about my trip and the purpose of my research.

In my Junior year at the College as an English and Government major, I combined my interest in Government-based research and working abroad after a semester in Sevilla, Spain, and applied for a Charles Center International Research Grant. The acceptance of my proposal has opened a Pandora’s box of further considerations I must make about my summer in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

For one, Puerto Maldonado sits on the confluence of the Tambopata River and Madre de Dios River in the Amazon Basin, with an average temperature of 79 degrees, and annual rainfall of nearly 3 1/2 feet. Mosquitoes like these kind of conditions.

Thus, I have spent around an hour this afternoon researching the numerous different malaria drugs I have at my disposal. Chloroquine is right out, as the mosquitoes in the area are chloroquine-resistant, Doxycycline causes sun sensitivity, Lariam was the subject of a 60 Minutes investigation due to what they termed “adverse neuropsychiatric effects”, leaving Malarone and Primaquine as possibilities. I then get to move on to yellow fever vaccinations. . .

On a more positive note, I have become quite excited about my research. This summer, I will spend my weeks studying Brazil nut harvesters in the Puerto Maldonado area, assessing the effectiveness of the Amazon Conservation Association, a non-governmental organization which assists and teaches the local Brazil nut harvesters in more effective and sustainable methods to harvest Brazil nuts.

In Peru, local families and organizations compete for plots of Brazil nuts to harvest, termed concessions, which both ensure the nuts are fairly harvested, yet also mean these families are dependent upon winning and maintaining concessions in order to earn a salary. The Amazon Conservation Association also assists in promoting education, increasing their standard of living, and provide technical support in their harvesting operations.

My research will focus on determining the effectiveness of the Amazon Conservation Association in sustaining and improving the livelihood of these workers, using survey and interview methods, as well as my knowledge of Spanish.

Madre De Dios River