The native Matsigenka village of Yomybato is a one day journey by off-road travel and four days by river boat from the Andean city of Cusco. It is located in the upper part of the Manu River, within the heart of the 1.7 million hectare Manu National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and the core of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The Manu Park covers the entire watershed of the Manu River, and is the size of the state of Connecticut.
The native communities in Manu function autonomously, and they have the final say in what happens in their community. The people of Yomybato, along with the people in the neighboring village of Tayakome, own and operate an ecotourism lodge called “Casa Matsigenka” in the tourist zone of the Manu National Park. They receive a small income from managing the lodge and additional income by selling their native handicrafts. Because Yomybato is located inside the protected area of the Park, all other forms of commercial resource extraction are prohibited. The people sustain themselves from their swidden gardens, and hunt and fish in the surrounding forests and rivers.
The literacy levels of the villagers is limited; however as more youth graduate from primary school in the village, and go on to attend secondary school in their village or in a colonized pueblo outside of the Park, literacy rates are increasing. In 2014, a secondary educational program was established. This program currently offers the only first two years of secondary education.
Young men often leave the village to work as park guards in the eco-tourism field, or work with social service organizations.There are 399 people currently registered in Yomybato; roughly 124 are children under the age of 16.
In dry season, most of the small streams where villagers wash clothes and bathe dry up. In the past, the women and children use to have to walk long distances to collect contaminated water used for cooking and bathing. Infants and children suffered the most from varying degrees of malnutrition, gastrointestinal illnesses including chronic diarrhea, severe anemia, and respiratory illnesses. Infant mortality rates were high.
In 2012 - 2015 Rainforest Flow addressed the urgent need to bring clean water and sanitation infrastructure to Yomybato. We also addressed the need for culturally appropriate health education to the villagers, to improve the health and well-being of a community, in this environmentally vital region of our world.
In partnership with the people of Yomybato, Rainforest Flow built a gravity flow water system with slow sand filtration that delivers clean water to villages homes 24 hours per day. Slow sand filters have been in existence for over 200 years and naturally remove up to 99.99% of the bacteria from the village water supply. Thirty tap stands with eco-friendly greywater drains have been installed at villages homes.
Eco-friendly bathrooms with a doubled sided stone sink were also built at the school. Our health and hygiene education classes for mothers and the school children and technical training workshops for the water and sanitation committee are ongoing through 2016.
Rainforest Flow 25852 McBean Parkway #740 Valencia, CA 91355 323.874.1940
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