Presentation on theme: "Our group, consisting of six members, Deren, Ivan, Benjamin, Hazel, Wen Ee and Geraldine, went hiking in the Amazon Rainforests in December last year."— Presentation transcript:
Our group, consisting of six members, Deren, Ivan, Benjamin, Hazel, Wen Ee and Geraldine, went hiking in the Amazon Rainforests in December last year and spent a strenuous week there.
The Amazonian Rainforest covers over a billion acres, encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world! (From above)The Amazon Rainforest is highlighted in green.
More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.
The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. At least 80% of the developed world's diet originated in the tropical rainforest. Its bountiful gifts to the world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts, cashews etc…
Forest-dwelling people, whose age- old traditions allow them to live in and off the forest without destroying it. There are 50 or more indigenous groups or jungle tribes still living in the depths of the rainforest that could have never had contact with the outside world at all! A few tribes have been subjected to a complete ethnobotanical analysis of their plant knowledge to learn the medicinal values of certain plants.
After one day, we reached the heart of the Amazon Rainforest and camped there. On the second day, Ivan and Geraldine slipped down a steep slope and had to be dragged up from below.Unfortunately, in the process, they lost the only map and compass of the hike as well as their water bottles and the rucksack containing the entire group’s food supply.The two suffered deep cuts on their knees and blood was oozing out of their wounds but they could still walk. Being specialized in first-aid, Hazel motioned for Deren and Benjamin to tear of their shirts’ sleeves. Using the cloth, Hazel skillfully wrapped it around the wounds, applying direct pressure to stop the bleeding. We trekked around the area. It was nearing dusk and we realized we had lost our way.
Wen Ee, being experienced in weather and climates, pondered at the sky and warned us that a heavy downpour would be following. We had to find shelter, and food as well. With everybody’s help, we found a suitable site at a higher level, away from the dangers and wild animals that lurked about in the forest. Very quickly, while Deren and Benjamin went to gather some wood, the rest of us made a temporary shelter using the groundsheets and tents. When the two guys returned with pieces of wood, a fire was set up using the Tepee method and by lighting it with the matches we had. Soon, it became dark. Our surroundings became pitched black and the fire’s incandescence became our sole light source.
We gathered around the glowing flame for warmth as Ivan and Wen Ee heated up the baked beans, the only food we had. Soon, a heavy downpour engulfed the forest with rainwater and the repeated splatter of raindrops was ubiquitous. The freezing winds were so chilly that the fire’s warmth seemed to disappear gradually. The inclement climate was too tremendous to bear. Fortuitously, there were dense and colossal trees above us and we had already made a small shelter for the fire using wooden branches. That kept the flame burning. Wearing ponchos, we consumed the baked beans hungrily. After finishing our meal, we cleaned the empty baked beans cans and used them to collect rainwater. Everyone was exhausted by that time. We agreed that one person was to act as a guard to detect any danger such as wild animals, changing shifts every three hours so that each of us could get some rest. The serene yet uncomfortable night passed peacefully…
At dawn, everyone was feeling dejected as the harsh reality was excruciating. The rain had stopped but we were lost in the middle of the Amazon, having absolutely no knowledge of where to go or how long we could last with limited food and water supplies. I emptied the rainwater we have collected in the cans last night into our water bottles, keeping the cans in my rucksack for future use. Being optimistic, Hazel threw encouraging words now and then at us, which kept up our group’s morale up in a certain way. We explored the dense forest for several hours to find any edible fruits to fill our empty stomachs. The overgrowth was so thick that we used a knife to cut through all the grass and shrubs. After a fruitless search, we could not bear with the intense fatigue in our legs and took a break. Fortunately, we found a suitable place to spend the night at.
The next day, our water supply was depleted. There was neither a river nor any rainwater. We had almost nothing, not even a map. We persevered on, hiking perpetually to uncover some fruits, which brightened our spirits for a while to keep us going. The sky darkened and it was impossible to continue walking. All of us were weary and famished.
None of us knew how lucky we were, as we had set up camp right under a few mango trees. While we were about enter slumberland with empty stomachs, a rather large mango fell on Ivan's head. He was screaming and was almost in tears by the intense and immense pain the mango caused him. We used branches and dislodged the mangoes from the tree and had a feast before everyone dosed off. A titanic serpent slithered towards Geraldine's feet. To her utmost horror as she woke up, the snake was poised to strike! The two menacing yellow eyes, staring straight into Geraldine's eyes. As the snake was about to strike, we heard a whooshing noise from the dense trees. The snake fell with a relieving "thud" onto the ground. We cautiously approached the snake to investigate its mysterious death.
There was a needle-like dart pierced through its forehead and blood flowed out of it like a crimson stream leading into a lake. The girls stood there opened mouthed and stared at the corpse in disbelief. We noticed that there was a tinkle of relief in Geraldine's eyes. The guys, other than Ivan, who was injured, looked around to find the source of the dart. We searched but to no avail. Finally we gave up. We, sat there and stared at the lifeless snake. All of a sudden, about 20 men arose from the trees behind us. We were all astonished and stared at them with dropped jaws. Deren, our talented leader, tried to communicate with them. However, it seemed unsuccessful as they all looked at us with curious looks.
Finally a young lad, about twelve years old, came out of hiding from among the bushes. He was also a native of the Amazon, like the other men. That lad spoke to us not in their language, but in English. We were amazed at how fluent his spoken English was. We told him about our dilemma and how we needed to get back to the main campsite. He talked to a senior who sprouted to twice his height and spoke at full volume to his fellow natives. The lad then turned to us and said that his tribe would lead us to the campsite. We hiked along side our newfound comrades. We finally arrived a long river. The width of the river was even larger than a few football fields, placed at ends to each other. It was probably the Amazon River. Benjamin noticed a few wooden rafts near the shore of the river. The natives signaled to us to follow them on the rafts. The ride across the river was rather enjoyable, with the balmy breeze blowing at our hair and caressing our cheeks.
The natives rowed the rafts with their wooden oars and warned us not to leave anything dangling out of the rafts, as there are crocodiles, piranhas, etc. We definitely heeded their advice, as we wanted a smooth journey. The seven rafts docked at the opposite shore and everyone was safe and sound. We walked for miles and then the natives halted in their tracks. The lad told us that that was the furthest they would accompany us and we were on our own. We exchanged well wishes, although we doubt they would understand a single word we had said. They advised us to continue to walk along the river for about 10 miles.
The next two days, we trekked along the river as what the tribesmen had told us. Along the way, we found many different fruits to add to our food supply, which boosted our group’s morale greatly. Everyone became more cheerful as Ivan’s silly jokes caused us to burst into laughter as we walked along. On the eighth day, we finally reach the base after an arduous journey. We were delighted and stayed at the camp for several days before returning back to our cosy homes. We also explained how we survived the ordeal and they were surprised, as they did not know tribes exist in the Amazon Rainforest. Food was aplenty as there were many coconut trees scattered along the river shore. We also made fishing rods from long tree branches to catch fish for food. We had a scrumptious meal of barbequed fish and coconut juice before having a good night’s rest.
During our one week survival in the Amazon Rainforest, we had learnt many valuable lessons. First, we must not be disheartened after a setback, as it will affect our mood and even the way we sort things out. We need to be calm and resilient and face the problem and try to solve it. Secondly, we would not have survived if not for our group members. Everyone was vigilant and had the fighting spirit to continue our hike even though we lost our important resources. The group’s morale was boosted by frequent encouragement from each member. We need to work as a team in order to overcome any obstacles. Discussion and cooperation was necessary as it helped in planning what to do and where to go next Overall, it was a fruitful hike as it had build up our relationships and learnt many important survival skills.