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To assist the Indigenous tribes living in the Pilon Lajas Indigenous Reserve and Biosphere in Bolivia to develop a suatainable means of living in this century by initiating an Eco-tourism venture.
We have been advising the residents of several of the communities within the Idigenous Reserve for several years. These tribes have had little contact with non-native people and have virtually no concept of how to run a business. They know they must learn and want to do so. Their enthusiasm is a joy to see. Especially when we remind them that we hope they can be indpendent from us in five or six years. They welcome our help but dream of not needing it.
Using the community of San Luis Grande located on the banks of the Quiquibey River 2-3 days south or upriver from the City of Rurrenabaque, Dept. of the Beni, in Bolivia; we have assisted them in the organization of an Eco-tourism venture. During the past year, we have aided them in setting up a bank account so they can practice establishing and adhering to a budget. They are doing quite well.
We have provided very basic computer skills and photogaraphy. We are in the process of providing them with a computer and arrangiing more extensive trainiing in computer basics and language skills first in English to be followed by German and French. Many can neither read nor write but they realize thier need to communicate with guests.
This is the rainy season so travel is hazardous on the river. There are no roads. They are building cabins and expect to be ready for the first trekkers in late May. Thiey are striving for a trekkers base camp rather than a resort. The plan is to provide an opportunity to see how they live and perhaps participate in community life. San Luis Grande is located within a pristine jumgle abounding with wildlife. They plan to provide trekking opportunities in "their" natural habitat where trekkers will be able to see jaguars, wild pigs, monkeys, thousands of birds and with luck, the elusive specatcled bear. This pristine region has seldom been visited by non native hikers. Perhaps not since the Spanish Conquistadors walked the land. Morely likely not even then since they preferred to travel on horseback and horses would be highly unsuitable here.
The residents of San Luis Grande have recieved verbal approval for a governmental permit and expect to be approved soon. Some of our team plan to be there in April or May to advise and assist in the inauguraal group of trekkers.