Existing Member?

Nomadic Hands


PERU | Saturday, 2 August 2008 | Views [1286]

Amner and Wagner: Volunteer co-ordinators of Canatura in Moyambamba

Amner and Wagner: Volunteer co-ordinators of Canatura in Moyambamba

We had been trying to contact someone from Canatura (a non profit organisation helping the environment) for the past couple of days, as Juany from Otra Cosa recommended us to visit it.

After going to the markets to buy the family some food, then to the pools with one of the daughters of the family, we were called on Jerome´s mobile phone, during lunch, by a man named Amner Del Aguila who volunteers at Canatura. The phone cut off before Jerome could even say where we were exactly... but then 15 minutes later there was a knock at the door and it was Amner. He had heard Jerome say what town we were staying in, and then came to ask the locals what family we were with.

Amner then took us to another place to stay, which was about 10 minutes away up a huge flight of stairs and a few streets away. There was nothing but a clay floor to sleep on once again, but it was so nice of them because within an hour they had set up a light blocker (thick plastic hung from the celing), and matresses and sheets to sleep comfortably on!

There are a few people living here, some who work for Canatura... some who don´t. Alexandra and Yann (The French couple we met on our way) helped one of the women prepare dinner... the kitcken floor was piled with corn skins. The meals I ate here have been very different to all the food I have so far eaten in Peru. Once we had cooked, soft penuts (with the shells still on), a sort of fried banana, and a green, thick drink that I had no idea existed. All have been filling and tasty though.

We finally met the Project Co-ordinator of Canatura (Club Amigos de la Naturaleza), Wagner Silva, in the evening. He takes care of the project in Alto Mayo, which is the Moyambamba and Rioja provence. We sait down, and he began a presentation about the association on his laptop.

Canatura is a student project where all of the people work as volunteers. A man from Israel had started the idea about 3 years ago when he worked for one month at a time at three different places, Moyabamba, Iquitos and Chiclayo, for two years. He then brought his idea to the university, where the students joined together and built on the idea.

Canatura´s target is to increase the impact of the project by having it function throughout the San Martin department, which includes 11 provinces. Their principal is to change the attitude of the public about the environment, and their vision is knowledge, pre-occupation, and active participation from the public impacting the environment positively.  

Canatura is open to everyone, there is no selection process, and all ages are welcome. The amount of people volunteering vary, but at the moment there are 23 people on the database in Moyabamba.

The way the project is managed, is by teaching the locals from the countryside on general information about the environment, and to be oriented on tourism so that they can become local guides. They move to different environments, and are taught about specific things also including plants, fruits, and insects. Plus they learn about the cycle of everything... how things are born and grow etc.

Every year, Canatura has a free environmental festival lasting for about one week, where over 10 cities from around Peru are invited. There are exhibitions of the same tours that the guides are educated about, wildlife art competitions, kites, dancing, and animation in the streets. They even have people representing different animals in costumes and an orphans competition for the best bird outfit and dance! 11,000 came to the festival last year, which was grew from 6,000 the previous year. They expect about 16,000 people this year.

I was amazed by the amount of activities run by Canatura. There are even projects for the elderly in where people come because of their curiosity, and if they end up wanting to help, that´s even better. Two children who asked to be taught by Canatura, have now been teaching other children, and are now running the project in their classes and at school competitions.

There are specified one day projects, that focus for example on one species of bird only. The volunteers are taught all about the bird through using pictures and doing interesting activities. One child who was trained as a guide, has been taking much older people on tours.

Canatura mainly teach poor people from the countryside how to be a specified environmentalist guide. They want the guide to be not just specified for the tourists, but also for increasing the coverage of this project. They want to have the volunteer guides teaching other locals also to become volunteer gides. This is extremely hard because they don´t have enough money for books, transport, and equipment that is imperitive to have to make the project grow. They rely heavily on donations of used equipment such as cameras from tourists. 

The oganisation is hoping to build a hotel, which would be managed by the guides. This is their plan to make money and stabalize and finance the childrens studies, and keep them involved for longer. They also expect by the end of the year to have another provence Tarapoto, heavily involved in the project.

There are also target seminars, where proffessionals working in the environmental sector are invited to speak to schools and universities, to inspire them to become actively involved in helping the environment. A few volunteers from a university have come to help at Canatura, after listening to one of the seminars.

The project co-ordinator Wager, who is 30 years old and from Peru, has been involved in helping the environment for the past 8 years. He studied Environmental Engineering, and now works during the week for a German corporation giving technical service to them about the environment. He became involved in helping the environment because he is passionate about the countryside, the mountains, wildlife and camping... and he also loves nature photography.

Wagner says that he is scared about what is happening to the environment aound the world, and he doesn´t want to see it happen in his own area. He also says that many people always want to hear about how to benefit the environment, but many are just too involved in their own lives to become actively involved. 

Out of the 23 volunteers, 7 are fully qualified and have other jobs during the week, which is why they can only work on weekends. I am stunned by the amount of work thay have done with no support from the government whatsoever, and with such little time. They have had children take four tours in just a month, which is one every single weekend that they have volunteered.

One thing that we found really interesting, was the fact that three volunteers who have worked at Canatura, now work in a monkey santuary about half an hour from where Jerome lives in France!!

Canatura is growing rapidly and extremely well. They have a well thought out track, and are very intelligent within their administration. Their precision and dedication, along with professionalism is sure to take them a long way... especially if they receive some much needed funds and more volunteers. Only 4000 soles would be enough to give each guide complete documental support for helping others.

The organisation is ready to explode in the best way possible!!

If you would like to volunteer at or donate to Canatura go to www.canatura.org or wtite to [email protected] (2 months notice is required for volunterering).


Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about Peru

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.