Published in The Tico Times on 5th of January 2015
IQUITOS, Peru – When the brisk 66-year-old Julio Conwachi Sandow takes tourists through the jungle to go bird-watching, he talks a lot about flora and fauna. With his machete, he cuts away a piece of bark and explains how it helps cure stomachaches, and a few hundred meters on he points to an exotic bird hiding behind the bushes.
The path to the main bird-watching tower, which takes about an hour to reach, used to be farmland, he explains. But since the villagers began earning a living from tourists, some 6,000 hectares have been reforested.
From everything he tells you about the plants and birds in the forest, you might get the impression Conwachi has a doctorate in biology and has researched the Amazon for years. But the truth is he was a simple farmer before.