Letter from Peru: Winter 2024 Update

by Patty Webster
Founder and President, Amazon Promise

The community of Yucuruchi, Peru now has potable water!
Jose Luis Valles

2024 is off to a busy and productive start! Constructive might even be a better word.

As I write this, the Amazon Promise team on the ground in Iquitos, Peru, along with partners from Engineers Without Borders Kansas City, have just finished construction on a potable rainwater catchment system in the remote community of Yucuruchi, located on the lower Ucayali River.

Thirty-two families now have access to clean water for the first time. 

This is the 19th community to have lifesaving sparkling clean water. Amazon Promise special projects manager, Jose Luis Valles, has been the coordinator for every one of these water systems, and we’re profoundly grateful for his dedication to bringing clean water to all.

Map showing all nineteen potable water systems to date. The yellow arrow show where the latest system is being installed in the community of Yucuruchi, Feb. 2024.

In January, after a year of planning, we partnered once again with Global First Responder to construct a 2000 sq. ft. multipurpose community center for the village of Mariscal Castilla, and also provided medical care to 480 people in several communities in the surrounding lower Ucayali River area. This team accomplished so much in just five days in the field. See photos below.

We’re proud of our continuing partnerships. Together we reach more people in need and have a greater more positive impact.

Our family planning program continues to grow and attract more women living in remote jungle communities who want to take charge of their personal and reproductive health. Working closely with a GERESA Loreto (Ministry of Health in Iquitos) healthcare brigade, our team will travel by boat and on foot this March to reach women and their families living in remote communities to provide follow-up, education, register new participants to the program, and provide urgent and basic medical care to the general population.

These Amazon Promise quarterly medical outreach interventions provide women, and their families, secure and stable access to healthcare.

It is inspiring to have such a positive and constructive beginning to the new year and we look forward to continuing the work bringing relief and hope to people in need in the Peruvian Amazon.

Since 1993, Amazon Promise has been providing health care and education to remote communities of the world’s largest rainforest, enabling thousands of people in great need a chance to lead healthy and successful lives. 

Truly A Small World

Edward Heath, RN (left photo, on the left), with Randy Jotte, MD (on the right in both photos).

Edward Heath is from a remote village on the Yarapa River where Amazon Promise has worked since 1993. When he was a little boy, he was adopted by one of our volunteers, Steve Heath, who took him to live with his family in Illinois. Edward’s desire to help others led him to nursing school, eventually specializing in emergency care.

Edward Heath on the 2022 mission.

In 2022, he brought his own volunteer medical team from the hospital he works at to provide care in his village and surrounding river communities. (See our September 2022 newsletter.)

If that isn’t incredible enough, in November 2022, while working in the ER at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, Edward met physician Randy Jotte, who was on the first ever Amazon Promise (then, Rainforest Health Project) volunteer medical teams in 1993, along with Steve Heath. They were actually roommates at the camp where our team was based. Recognizing Edward’s last name, Dr. Jotte asked if by chance he was related to a man named Steve. And the rest his history.

Could this mean a reunion team is in the works?

The Amazon Promise team in Iquitos:

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