I arrived in Iquitos last Monday and left for the village of Chino on the Tahuayo River on Tuesday. During my visit at this time last year, the village was completely flooded - a normal event during the rainy season - but this has been a particularly dry season so far. It was great to meet with the artisans again and discuss ideas for new crafts they could make for the Center for Amazon Community Ecology to sell at our new online store (www.amazonforeststore.org). While they have a nice new house to meet, work and display their crafts to visitors (built with support from Amazon Expeditions and CACE), the eco-tourism lodge upriver has had relatively few guests to bring by to buy their crafts in the past four months. We are going to try and help them improve their marketing by producing photos of the artisans they can put in their center, develop their brand based on their association name (Manos Amazonicas = Amazon Hands), and include them in the second Artisan Leadership Program workshop we will hold at the end of March. More about my visit to Chino tomorrow.
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