FRIDAY 12:30hrs Leave house in Nauta sporting yellow poncho due to heavy rain. First destination: Nauta ‘taxi’ station to board a colectivo.
14:55hrs Arrive at Iquitos taxi terminal. Off to buy rations for the river journey and check-in to hostel for overnight stay. Rendezvous with colleague, Luis, confirmed for 07:00hrs tomorrow morning.
SATURDAY 06:55hrs At rendezvous point.
07:20hrs Luis arrives by scooter and explains his wife is following in a motokar. He’ll leave his scooter at the port just in case there’re no motos when we return on Sunday. Now am wondering exactly where the port is: haven’t been to the port of Nina Rumi before…His wife arrives in moto, I climb in and we’re off.
08:05hrs Arrive at river port of Nina Rumi, way out of Iquitos on rutted dirt road through the woods. Son of our host meets us at the port. He left Samito, our destination, at 03:00hrs this morning.
08:30 hrs Luis and I board the 18ft lancha, the peque-peque is juiced up and we set off. ETA in Samito: 15:30 hrs. Luis affixes hammock and promptly falls asleep whilst pretending to read spiritual book. I lie down on wooden bench and soon nod off. Wake up periodically to graze on food rations.
Luis on scooter
Boat: all mod cons
15:35hrs Arrive at Samito. Pr. Humberto meets us off the boat and takes us to the accommodation at this home.
19:15hrs Following supper of boiled salted fish and boiled plantain and best attempt at a wash in a location with ample water but zero privacy, Luis and I go to the church. People from neighbouring village churches are arriving. The all-night vigil starts up promptly with lively singing and clapping.
21:25hrs Luis and I are invited to the front to introduce ourselves and talk about the training program in Nauta, followed by questions from the pastors, followed by Luis preaching.
00:00hrs The vigil pauses so that people can get some air and drink chicha, made from ground maize, semi-fermented. Luis and I excuse ourselves and return to our accommodation to sleep.
SUNDAY 05:30hrs The vigil has finished and everyone comes back to the accommodation for chicken soup breakfast and more chicha. Pr. Humberto is very encouraged by the invitation to the Training Program for next year and has a list of 14 pastors and leaders from the five churches present at the vigil. Luis and I pray with him and his wife before getting back on the lancha.
07:00hrs Leaving Samito. ETA at Nina Rumi: 13:00hrs.
13:30hrs Arrive at Nina Rumi. Not many motokars whose drivers aren’t drinking beer! Finally find one who already has a passenger but agrees to take me back to Iquitos for reasonable fee. Luis heads off to find his scooter.
14:05hrs On dirt track back to Iquitos in moto with unknown man in passenger seat beside me who starts to ask me what I’m doing in Nina Rumi and how it is that I’m travelling alone. I explain that I came with my colleague, a pastor, who left on his scooter and we’d been up-river visiting churches. Five minutes later we pass a local watering hole with various young couples bobbing about in the water. My travelling companion turns to me and asks “¿Te gusta el pecado?” Translation: “Do you like to sin?” I’m a little shocked; it’s a loaded question. I decide to clarify: “¿Cómo? ¿Me gusta el pecado?” (“What did you say? Do I like to sin?!”).
He laughs, “!No! ¿Te gusta el pescado?” I realise he’s holding a fishing rod. He had asked me if I like fish. I laugh. A lot. (Yes, I do like fish.)
15:35 hrs Arrive home in Nauta. Successful trip.