We also had the chance to visit other military bases where we learned about the coordination between the Armed Forces to cover the security needs of the Amazon. Aside from their regular duties of counter drug-trafficking or illegal mining, they also support work against piracy on biodiversity, providing aid after natural disasters and administrating health care to rural settlements. For example, we visited one of the “Os Navios da Esperanza” (Ships of Hope) which is a government-run program between the Brazilian Navy and the Ministry of Health, to provide health care to rural settlements in the Amazon.
As a part of our learning about military life in Brazil, the marines invited us to join them in a demonstration of how to survive in the jungle, where we tasted at least 50 different types of Amazonian fruits, learned how to make fire, and about the plants in which we could find water.
We had so many incredible experiences, I cannot choose which was my favourite.
However, swimming with one of the most beautiful species of mammals in the world, the pink dolphins, (or Boto), truly cemented this trip as the once in a lifetime experience that it was.