Colombia Expedition - May 2017

Sitrep 1 - 15 May 2017

Team now in Leticia and preparing to move to Puerto Narino on 13 may. Ticuna are giving us a great welcome.

Ambulance boat looking very smart and will driven up River by President Rusbel  Torres.

Very hot and humid. Ends

Sitrep 2 - 17 May 2017

Clinics at Sat Francisco village much in demand.  Reading glasses greatly appreciated. Wild life studies successful. Two camera traps deployed. Two mildly venemous water snakes caught at camp. Books for primarily schools distributed to crowds if enthusiastic pupils.

Cultural studies in progress. Ambulance boat displayed to meeting of village chiefs. Weather hot and humid, rains daily. Next base. Camp at San Pedro de Típica.

Sitrep 3 - 22 May 2017

Camera traps recorded rare sight of tayra and pups. Dentists and doctors very busy. Books for schools and reading glasses very much appreciated. John Arathoon doing outmost to repair many items of mechanical equipment owned by Ticuna, who lack knowledge of maintenance. Drone proving a real asset for air recce. Meetings with local Shamen very helpful. Now in 12 of October Village. Very hot and humid, heavy rain storms. Ends


Sitrep 4 - 24 May 2017

Ambulance boat has been used to evacuate a seirously ill seven month old boy to Puerto Narino and hopefully save his life.  Wildlife surveys have enjoyed good sightings of dolphin, mammals and energetic boa constrictor.  Team now based at very friendly village of San Juan del Soco advising Ticuna on establishment of an eco-tourist centre and a drinking water supply.  Weather hot and humid.  Many biting insects plentiful.  Ends


Sitrep 5 - 29 May 2017

The final part of the Expedition was based at San Juan del Soco village. The Ticuna here were extremely friendly and helpful, greatly appreciating the medical aid, school books and glasses.

Many dolphin were seen and the camp site was home to numerous snakes, mostly mildly venemous. Camera traps placed in the forest recorded images of rodents, squirrel  and various birds.

A visit to San Martin village enabled us to see the centre for local herbal medicine and handicrafts.

Throughout the Expedition Peter Manns has been meeting with Ticuna shaman and has made study of their work. On the way home the team called at a village where John Arathoon bravely handled a large anaconda. 

The San Juan villagers  created a special wall painting illustrating their origins in honour of our visit. On 27 May the Ticuna held a  display of dancing and singing, following our traditional Burns Supper. As always we dinned on Stahlys haggis from Scotland.

The Ticuna presented us with necklaces and even painted tattoos on some of the team to give them good fortune.  On 28 May we handed over The CLP ambulance boat to Russell Torres, President of the indigenous Association at a ceremony in Puerto Narino. He expressed his deepest thanks to Clinic La Prairie and the expedition for this valuable gift. Ends

Sitrep 6 - 31 May 2017

On an island in the Amazon Simon House met an Indian who had captured a two metre anaconda. Simon persuaded the man to release it into the wild.

After a day in Leticia and a farewell dinner with Juan and Leonor Munoz of Medical Mission International (MMI) the team are now in Bogota. MMI have been most helpful to the project. They work worldwide and give much aid in the Amazonas. Carried out under challenging conditions, the expedition had successfully completed its tasks.

All agreed it was a real team effort and a unique experience. The Ticuna expressed their sincere thanks to the Clinque La Prairie of Montreux for finding the ambulance boat. We are also grateful to experienced guide Sergio Leon and Ecodestinos for their support. The help of the Scientific Exploration Society and Zenith watches was very much appreciated. Newport Uskmouth Rotary Club and friends and family of Morten Risberg and Lynette Dodds also gave valuable assistance.

Comments by Expedition members included:

So grateful to join this dynamic team of people in the Amazon.
Cathy Lawrence, Comedian, Canada.

This expedition showed that, with good leadership a very disparate group of people of various ages and ethnicities can come together to work as a team, helping each other as needed and remaining cheerful and committed under often difficult and tiring conditions.
John Mackenzie-Grieve - Retired UK

Everlasting memories of our Ticuna friends. Never have I have the privilege to learn so much from so few.
Maya Boyd, Journalist UK

An excellent opportunity to work in a wholly new and challenging environment for the benefit of indigenous people.  The expedition has been hugely successful largely due to the exceptional group dynamics and hard work by all the team.
Anna Stewart, Novelist - Mallorca

Will be thinking of the Ticuna for a long time to come. A privileged experience with SES people and one of the last great explorers.            
Dr Adriaan Van der Wart, Doctor, Canada

It was a privilege to be part of such an amazing expedition to such a special place and share the experience with some amazing people!  My medical responsibilities challenged my perception and abilities, but this was a welcome change to my usual four walls!
Yasmin Jauhari - Surgeon UK

The expedition was a real team eye opener ... the jungle is a difficult environment for novice explorers in the wet season, but the challenge was worth it.
John Arathoon, builder, UK

A fantastic trip with wonderful people - an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
Jackie Ansic, dentist -  UK

Didn't know what to expect and was not disappointed. 10/10. Would do it again.
Lt. Morten Risberg - Norwegian Army

The results have surpassed expectation. Not only that, I discovered much about the cultural and traditional aspects of Ticuna life but due to skillful selection of the individuals that participated I also had a fantastic time.
Peter Manns, Business man - UK

Another great adventure in  great company. Definitely going in the dry season next time. Great team! JBS has a great balance that allows flexibility and adventure.
Simon House, Agriculture Advisor- UK

If you want to challenge yourself and experience living conditions that none of your friends will ever dare to experience, then go to Colombian Amazonas in the rainy season. The humidity, biting insects, "bathroom" experience are extremely clallenging and I will be boring my friends senseless with the stories of how we got through it, tanned, smiling and bit spotty!
Prof Alistair Driver - Exeter University UK.

The expedition gave real valuable help to some of the more remote people of my country. The support of the sponsors, the Scientific Exploration Society and MMI was greatly appreciated; as was the professional leadership of this fine international team who worked so hard in the testing Amazon climate
Econ. Yolima Cipagauta R. Economist Colombia

Translation of Rubel's speech at Puerto Nariño.
As President of Aticoya I wish to thank you very much for the wonderful help you have given to the communities of the Loreto Yacu River.
The gift of the ambulance boat by Clinque La Prairie will make a very important difference to our Iives. It has already saved a life of a baby and will continue to benefit all of us. Thank you for coming so far to help us.
Rusbel Torres
Presidente de Aticoya. (Asociación of Ticuna, Cocama and Yagua Indigenous Communities)


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© Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE DSc(Hon) DEng(hc) FRSGS