‘I think we’ve been taken prisoner” – Guardian reporter tells Ed Stafford

November 17, 2008

"I've think we've been taken prisoner,", I told Ed. "Well, there's not a lot we can do about it", he said. Just a week before, the possibility of being surrounded by armed men would have filled me with dread but I seemed to have developed Ed's "Oh, we'll worry about it in the morning" attitude.

Mark Barrowcliffe, who spent a few days walking the Amazon with ME Association explorer Ed Stafford, wrote about his experiences for The Guardian and his piece appeared in the newspaper's travel features section on Saturday (November 15).

To read his article, click here.

For Ed's longer-term take on his walk, click here. In his latest blog, he writes:

"My team at the moment is all Mestisos (mixed race Peruvians). There are very few indigenous Peruvians in this area of the Lower Ucayali. It’s now a series of muddy villages with tin roofs. Some houses have long drop loos (holes in the ground) but most just say “monte” (bush) and point at the bushes. Everyone goes a little way into the jungle and just poos. I asked recently if the guides dig a hole and they laughed at me. Why would you want to do that?

"Hygiene is interesting here. The average family doesn’t get rid of rubbish from their back garden on a particularly regular basis. It just builds up or blows away. It smells and rots and the children play in it and the adults wee in it.

"The life I’m leading at the moment is an odd one."

Thanks to the wonders of satellite communication, he was able to read Mark Barrowcliffe's Guardian piece and adds:

"My motivation comes from many sources:

"1. The hope that this walk will help people empathize with the Amazon and its environmental issues.

2. The amazing messages that people are writing to me. They are such a lift.

3. Seeing an animal that I’ve never seen before (yesterday I saw a capuchin (Genus Cebus) high up in the trees but it was too high to tell the species).

4. Thinking about the feeling of accomplishment when it’s all over.

5. Listening to music or reading good books – both can lift me straight out of the jungle into another world, which is – sometimes – a nice thing.

"Although things are going to plan at present the word ‘apprehension' doesn’t do any justice at all to my feelings about the months that lie ahead. As the waters rise the flooded forests will push us further away from the river and the paths I’m using at present will be 5 metres under water. Just at that point the indigenous tribes become the fiercest yet – as we enter Brazil.

"Thanks to Mark for the funny article in The Guardian on Saturday."



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