Community and Pandemic

By Maria Cunha

Living in the forest is a great challenge… Yes, we live in the most amazing place in the world: NATURE!

Nature brings with it countless possibilities; we are privileged beings because we are so close to so much wonder. Every day we have the opportunity to shape a new future for the family, for ourselves, for our communities, and for our conservation units. We are extractivist communities, fishermen, farmers, and managers, we are a little bit of everything and every day a little more. Every new day is a challenge. We do not know how nature will react to our actions, and we must always be careful to stay in harmony. We are challenged every day; changes happen all the time. We, as a community, know these challenges will always exist, these uncertainties such as how the weather will be tomorrow; if nature will allow me to have good production, a good harvest; if we are going to be able to extract the latex; or if we are going to get the number of pirarucus that is stipulated in our quota. There are countless questions that make us think of our day as challenging, although we have quality of life and live sustainably, which is one of the wonders that we conquer every day.

However, nothing has been as challenging as having to face these changes that the world has been presenting to us. We are also affected in every way. Suddenly it is like our eyes are dark, and we do not know what next step we must take.

Even nature has felt how lost we can be, not knowing if we can think of evolving without first retreating, so that the pandemic, the flu, and other fears experienced lately can pass by us without affecting us. And perhaps our forest has become our only haven, somehow, we feel protected by these green walls that surround us.

It is not hard to imagine what rural communities think about it. A perspective of the future has become challenging. The only security is to think that they are not alone, that the partner institutions of these communities continue to work so that we can keep the focus on the real goal which is to keep them well sustainably and with ease of access to health and education, basic sanitation, and opportunities.

One of the things that the pandemic, and current events, have left in the communities is the reflection we make that each day becomes more viable to live in the forest, in a sustainable way, and with a certainty that many things end up being worse in cities. This has become frequent in the thinking of many communities. “Out there it has become more dangerous to live while living in the forest provides us with a better quality of life and less fear of being trampled by haste and fear of the world”, says a member of the community. “We are not sure that in the forest we are more protected from everything, but we are sure that we can better protect ourselves if we stay here”, another member of the community declares.

Living in a community surely brings great challenges, and many yearn to seek benefits out there. Others understand that they can evolve within their own communities and thus become part of the future of our conservation units. This is this focus that we try to keep. I believe that the desire of the communities is to keep the people together every day, in harmony, so that together they can take more and more care of our biodiversity. And that the opportunities offered are able to keep the youth with the same focus: to work for the future of our conservation units and our beautiful Mid-Juruá as a whole.

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