After an hour or so Tyson pointed out that there were in fact mototaxis out and there was no rain to be seen so we should try to get to school. I agreed…why would we let rain stop us?…we are in the rainforest and if everything stops for rain we would be missing lots of school for the next few months. So we found a mototaxi and headed to school. As we got closer to our school and further from our home we noticed that there was a lot of trash in the road, piles that looked like they had been burned and some that had not. “Interesting”, I thought to myself, “do burn their trash in the road before a rain so that it will then wash the ashes away?” We drove further and noticed lines of trash all the way across the road…the taxi driver went around it. We asked him why it was in the road and he said a word we either could not understand or couldn’t not hear because of the motorcycle. A little further down there was another blockade and past it a fire in the middle of the road. At this point I am thinking there is no way this is just a normal rainy day in Iquitos and actually started to feel uneasy. I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe, just really confused. The next thing I know the whole street is blocked ahead and the taxi driver tells us we can’t go on. We ask again what is happening and this time (finally) we understand that there is a strike going on throughout the city. We turned around and headed back home. It is finally making sense as to why it was suggested we stay home;) On the way home there were many more things in the road—rubble, branches, tree trunks, more garbage, glass, huge piles of dirt, lots of futbol games and a march in the center.
As we asked more questions we found out it was a strike against the government to support the natives. From what we understand the natives are on land the government wants. Land that has oil, gold, trees, water and other things they want. The natives are kicked off the land…they are not even forced to sell (not that I would agree with that either)…it is just taken from them. So, this is how the people fight back. To me, it does not make much sense. What they are doing seems to affect their own neighbors more than the government. But, I am still looking at it through American eyes, I hope that in few months I will have a better understanding of the people. It is possible that at that time I still won’t really agree with how they protest, but my hope is to have a better understanding and compassion for the “why”.
In the end we spent the day together. It was a blessing in disguise. Although it is hard to miss a day of class with all that we are learning, it was a much needed day together as a family. We spent as much time as we could playing and reading with Kai and studying our Spanish…I hope we don’t have many more days being stuck in the house…but today we took advantage of it;)