We donned wellies (rubber boots) and set off down river for 20 minutes to hike through some of the secondary and primary forests of the large Misicocha private reserve in the Amazon rain forest.
We learned of the many uses for the insects, leaves, roots, vines found in the forest.
The termites are rubbed on the skin as a mosquito repellent. The nest is burned as incense and repellent.￼
The little ants in top right photo have a citrus flavor.
The jacaranda tree roots are used as a drum to identify location in case of emergency. The sound travels far and sounds like a gunshot (tree bottom left)
The hardwood chunta bambil tree is used for construction – beams, flooring, the blow-gun but is also cut to propagate a delicacy. Beetles work their way into the center to the soft sap wood. In two months the larvae (chunta koro ) are harvested to be eaten. On our way to Quito we stopped at a food stand and tried the grilled larvae tasted just like bacon!
Clay is found along the stream and river beds as well as the natural dyes used for the pottery.
Walking palms (top left) and its barbed root (bottom left) used as a grater.