Our 1st Annual VIP Amazon Expedition October 23rd, 2009
By Katy Holt-Larsen, Executive Director of the MORE Project
August 2009 marked the first annual MORE Project VIP Amazon Expedition in Brazil. This trip offered distributors the unique experience of visiting the northern regions of Brazil as well as the MORE Project in Niteroi, just outside of Rio de Janeiro.
The expedition launched in Manaus where we stayed at the Ariau Towers, an eco-lodge located in the heart of the Amazon. Surrounded by water, canoes were our only mode of transportation to explore the beauty and wildlife. We swam with pink dolphins, witnessed an Amazon sunrise, caught piranhas, and hunted Cayman crocodiles at night. As we departed we traveled to The Meeting of the Waters, a beautiful location where the black waters of the Rio Negro meet the brown waters of the Amazon. The waters do not mix, creating a distinct line between the two rivers. It was a fascinating and beautiful experience.
After Manaus we headed to Belem, an historic Amazonian city near the Atlantic Ocean. This city in particular has been positively impacted by MonaVie’s purchasing of acai from the region. We met the women who make all the beautiful açai jewelry sold on www.monaviemall.com.
The lives of these women have changed tremendously as they’ve made and sold goods to MonaVie distributors. We visited the dock where acai is brought to market and sold by basketfuls. The dock is a bustling, colorful place. Within the short time we were there, the açai was briskly sold and the docks were bare again. We traveled up the Amazon to meet with locals who make their living harvesting acai for MonaVie. Graceful trees laden with ripe acai were abundant along the entire riverbank. We were introduced to Diogo who demonstrated how to climb an acai tree and gather and process the fruit. Families from nearby villages brought their little ones to receive one of the thousand pairs of shoes we gave away that day. It was very moving and unforgettable to meet with them that day.
A New Nehemiah House
We flew the next day to The Believer’s Project and stayed at Village MonaVie. We toured many areas of Vila Iparanga. Words cannot describe the living conditions within the slums. It was a great privilege then to be invited to the dedication of a new Nehemiah House for Marcella and her three sons. Where there once were dirt floors, we now saw clean, new tile. Running water, including a shower and flushing toilet replaced a bucket of water that served as a sink to the entire family. New beds and bedding, clean sheets, and a fully functional kitchen gave even more for this family to be grateful for.
Each day we took time to share our own reflections. As a group we shared the feeling that this trip truly felt like a “gift” to all those who attended. We agreed that our hearts were full to overflowing every single day we spent in Brazil.
Our Next MORE Project Expedition: November 1–8, 2009
Please join us for our upcoming expedition to the MORE Project in Niteroi, Brazil, and spend time with the families who participate in our programs. It will be a beautiful experience you will never forget. To reserve your spot, please contact Linda Larsen at LindaL@themoreproject.org. An application form will then be sent to you.