Celso and Francisca have lived on the Rio Branco for 25 years. We stopped at their small house with a palm thatch roof because we had not seen a house in several days. They live in a very isolated place. They grow most of their food in a small garden that surrounds their house. They grow hot peppers, onions, bananas and lots of mandioca. Mandioca is a root vegetable similar to a potato. Celso and Francisca eat mandioca every day; it is a staple like wheat or corn to us.
We learned that Celso and Francisca are rubber tappers. They make their living gather rubber from the rubber trees that grow in the forest near their house. They gather about 4,000 pounds of rubber each year.
Celso took us on short walk from his house to a nearby rubber tree. He made a small cut in the tree’s bark and after 30 seconds the white rubber started dripping out of the cut. Celso explained that when done properly, harvesting rubber does not hurt the rubber tree. It seems like Celso and Francisca have found a very sustainable way to live in the rainforest.
After our visit we waved goodbye and continued our journey down the river. In the early afternoon we found a large sand beach and decided to stop and camp for the night. Hercilio and Jack are cooking some bread and farofa. Farofa is a very common food that is made with mandioca. Many Brazilians eat farofa every day.
Miles Paddled: 19
Queixada (also called peccary, this is a type of wild pig with large tusks): a large herd of probably 50 to 100
Hours paddled: 5