These individuals comprise the core of our Tapiche team. We try to hire as many other local villagers as possible for projects around the reserve to give everyone in the area a chance to experience eco-sustainable income.


JOSE Alván Murayari, Guide and Transport Driver

José was born and raised in a small community called El Torno downstream from the Tapiche Reserve. The community specializes in traditional palm roofing from the Irapay palm tree, but demand for this roofing material has greatly decreased due to the popular belief that the "modern" corrugated metal roof is better. Through working at the reserve, José has been able to secure housing with amenities like a stove and a refrigerator in Requena, the nearest "big" town, and is able to put his children through school there. The reserve continues to support the community by purchasing palm roofing for the lodge buildings and walkways from El Torno. 

VERDI Yahuarcani Tamaní, Cook

Verdi was born in a village called Perlita on the Ucayali River. She moved to Esperanza, an established village downstream from the reserve, in 1998. A single mother to four children, she learned to tend to her own agricultural fields and catch fish, activities often considered men's work. Many women in her position would have turned to finding men to support her financially in return for he company. Over the years she tried to make a living by raising chickens and selling prepared foods, but the income was never enough to properly support her children. She is now able to send her children to school in Requena and make improvements to her home in Esperanza, like purchasing portable solar lights to replace paraffin lamps.   

REQUELMER Guides Marchand, Lodge Maintenance and Guide 

Requelmer was born in a town called Caballococha on the Amazon River, but his family moved to Esperanza when he was just one year old. Like most men living in Esperanza, Requelmer worked for the logging industry performing backbreaking work for months on end with little to no pay. He hunted and harvested fruit by cutting the tree down when he wasn't logging for lack of other options. Within the first year of working at the reserve, Requelmer made more money than he ever accumulated in 16 years of working in the logging industry. For the first time ever, his house now has a stove, a generator, a corrugated metal roof, mosquito mesh, portable solar lights and a television.  

 

FRANCIS Scott Chumopaima, Lodge Maintenance and Guide

Francis was born and raised in the pulsing metropolis of Iquitos, population approx 500,000. Like many Peruvians, his family moved to Esperanza when he was 11 years old seeking relief from the expenses of the city by transitioning to rural life and hoping to find work logging or hunting. Francis came along with his uncle Requelmer when they heard that the lodge was offering work. He has a keen ear and curiosity for English, so say hello!    

RONALDO Guides Marchand, Lodge Maintenance and Guide

Ronaldo has lived in Esperanza his whole life and is the stepson of Requelmer. This means that he has been immersed in the culture, politics and economy of logging and hunting for as long as he can remember. Many young men his age have already become entrenched in the vicious cycle of logging. We hope to show him and others of his generation that it IS possible to make a good living without destroying the forest. 

 
 

MURILO Reis (aka Katoo), Founder and Director

Murilo witnessed firsthand the beauty of humans living in harmony with nature while growing up on an indigenous reservation in the Pantanal of Brazil. He realized that, while environmental conservation of the Amazon in Brazil is not perfect, the status of the Peruvian Amazon is even more threatened and vulnerable due to weak or non-existent conservation laws and little to no enforcement in favor of conservation. His greatest reward for the immense amount of work and time he has put into the reserve is not only to see the animals roaming happily and freely but also to see visitors enjoying the experience of watching wildlife in the wild.    

DEBORAH Chen, Coordinator, Director of Design and Communications 

Deborah was born and raised in the Chicago area, USA but has family and friends spread around the world. She uses her combined background in the arts and natural sciences to convey the majesty and fragility of the Tapiche Reserve to potential visitors and the general public. Few things are more satisfying for her than documenting the animals at the reserve through photo and video. She has noticed that many visitors reconnect to their own humanity in the context of nature simply by stepping away from daily routine and focusing on observing the forest. Many worries of "modern" life start to seem rather inconsequential when put into the broad perspective of the natural world. 

 

Banner photo: Squirrel monkey family crossing a creek, Greater Ani birds following the monkeys in search of insects that emerge from the disturbed leaves as the monkeys pass
 © 2017 Deborah Chen