Learning to swim in the Amazon river basin also means learning to avoid flesh-eating piranhas and snapping caimans. A boy enjoys the river in the Brazilian village of Sao Raimundo do Jaraua. (Photo: AFP/Mauro Pimentel) Residents of the Mamiraua and Amana Sustainable Development Reserves, deep in the Amazon rainforest, are experts at the art of survival. But they’re just as at home caring for local plants and animals. Life here is a balancing act: you learn to avoid dangerous creatures, harvest the jungle fruit, and go with the flow as the seasons change and the river rises and falls. Roads are scarce – and in many areas, non-existent – so the rivers serve as highways, affected only by the changing water level. Some riverside homes jut into the water on a raft or logs that allow them to float if the tide rises. Other homes are built on stilts for protection from high tides. The main source of income for Amana reserve residents is harvesting acai. The purple fruit, known scientifically as Euterpe oleracea, looks like a dark grape and is popular in Brazil. Nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich, it is increasingly popular in health stores in the United States and Europe…. Read full this story
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