MMI in Amazon

MMI Canada first travelled to Colombia in 2004, under the leadership of Willie and Janice Hunter, at the invitation of Antonio and Ruth Cortes and the Iglesia Cruzada. Due to the remote Amazon regions, MMI teams typically provide medical, dental, audiology, and preventative health education for the Indigenous persons in these areas. 

Juan Alan Muñoz was born in 1972 to a Colombian father and an Irish mother, who were called to be missionaries in the Amazon jungle of Colombia. Juan Alan studied Economics at university in Northern Ireland and Finance in Bogotá. He has been working in the area of business administration in the health sector of Colombia since 1996. He began serving with MMI, as National Director of MMI Colombia, in 2004 and as CEO of Clinica Leticia in 2013. Father of three children, Juan David, Andres Felipe, and Isabella, who also help on MMI Projects. Juan Alan spends his time between Bogotá and Leticia, always with a cup of coffee in hand. Juan Alan and his wife, Leonor work closely with MMI in planning the projects in the Amazon Region and other areas of Colombia.

Juan Alan Munoz - Project Director

Juan Alan Munoz - Project Director

         Paul Loofs joined the Yavari River, Amazon project team           in July 2014 for his 102nd project with MMI Canada

         Paul Loofs joined the Yavari River, Amazon project team
          in July 2014 for his
102nd project with MMI Canada

The Yavari River Amazon Project teams deliver primary care and dental services in a 200 km radius around Leticia, Colombia. Leticia is an ideal location to serve patients from three different countries: Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. MMI supports Clínica Leticia, which serves 80 emergency and 120 medical patients daily, as it increases capacity to serve the region. Each day our teams travel down the river and set up clinics in local rural villages. Although it is not physically demanding, Yavari River Amazon projects are considered an extreme project due to basic lodging accommodations and elevated exposure to certain diseases. If you have a servant’s heart and an adventurous spirit— join us and experience the Amazon!

Clinica Leticia

MMI has formed an alliance with a clinic in Leticia (Clínica Leticia) where a moderate level of health care can be provided such as surgeries and deliveries. In the Amazon region, many patients are transported weekly to Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, due to lack of advanced medical machines and specialists. Clinica Leticia is working to upgrade its facilities to reduce the number of air transports.

In some villages, there is a person who has had very basic medical training, but their resources are extremely limited. Many times there is no medicine available. Therefore, the villagers wait until they are extremely sick before even thinking about getting medical attention. The other factor that affects the villagers is distance: many times a health centre is far away from their village and the cost of gasoline is too high for them to be able to afford transportation.

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Project Site:

Yavari River


In the Amazon Region MMI serves three countries: Brazil, Colombia and Peru. In this region there is no road access, only river and plane; so, if a Brazilian needs medical care he must travel by boat up to six or seven days to Manaus, Peruvians have to go three to four days up to Iquitos, and Colombians have to fly out to Bogotá.

The Yavari River region is inhabited by Peruvians and Brazilians that belong to the Ticuna tribe. These people live in communities that range from 80 to 600 people. Every village has a main leader who works with a small council. The families live in wooden homes; and have large families with ten to twelve members each. Each family has a chakra where they farm and cultivate the land for their living. Healthcare access is supported by outreach programs with Clinica Leticia and MMI, in order to reach out to each village.

* Project Description: Yavari River, Amazon project teams will join forces with Clínica Leticia; the team usually stays in tents and travels by boat to seven villages. The primary goal is to provide physical, spiritual, and emotional care to the Indigenous populations. In each village we often see 150 patients or cover 50% of the villages need.

Elevation
96 m (314 ft)

Climate
Hot and humid
Average Temperature 27°C (80.6°F)
Average min and max temperatures in Leticia, Colombia

View MMI Amazon Information Package here

Travelling on a Project

Entry & Exit Requirements


Travelers are required to have a valid passport for the duration of their stay. Travel visa is not required.

• Americans: For more information see the US State Department website:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/colombia.html

• Canadians: You will be asked to fill out a form for a TOURIST visa at the Bogotá airport. Canadians must pay a Colombia Reciprocity Fee - Effective December 1st, 2014, Colombia began charging a reciprocity fee to citizens of Canada arriving at an airport in Colombia.
The fee of approximately $88 CAD (or 160.000 Colombian pesos) per person is valid for a single entry into the country, and is payable by international credit card or debit card. If made in cash, the payment must be in Colombian pesos. A dedicated counter will be available to Canadian citizens who must pay the reciprocity fee before proceeding to immigration control. The fee does not apply to Canadian citizens who:
• are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79
• hold a valid visa to enter Colombia
Passengers who are unable to pay the fee will not be allowed into Colombia.
Travelers to Putumayo, Meta, Gorgona (Cauca), Tayrona National Park (Magdalena), and Caquetá must produce proof of yellow fever vaccination, as it will be required by airlines for flights to these departments. Please check the following website for the most current entry/exit requirements.
https://https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/colombia

• International: Please contact MMI office or Raptim Humanitarian Travel for visa requirement if needed.

Application Requirements


Please email ALL CREDENTIALS upon application, as these must go to the Project Director in the country to be translated and then taken to the Ministry of Health to get temporary licenses prior to your arrival.

• For everyone, we need:
- Colour Scan / Photocopy of Passport (photo page)
- Colour photo for your name badge (any good photo, we can adjust size)
- Travel Itinerary
- Supply Lists

• Medical Professionals, we also need your:
- Current License (through time of project)
- Diploma (Techs, Nursing, Dental, MD and Board Certifications)
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume (this also will help the Project Director know your skills & experience to assign you a task on the project, especially for 1st time participants)

• Health Care Students: Letter of Good Standing from your school (including year of study and graduation date).

• All MINORS travelling with only one parent, or without their parents, will need a letter from BOTH parents stating that it is OK for the child to travel with one parent or an appointed guardian. The letter should be signed and notarized. MMI needs a copy of this letter, and the parent or guardian should carry the orignial letter while travelling.

Travel


Once you have been accepted on the project, you can contact our designated travel agency to arrange your travel and coordinate your arrival the team.

Raptim Humanitarian Travel: www.raptim.org

• US Applicants: Travel costs are arranged directly with the travel agent and are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “Serve Team 2”: ServeTeam2.us@raptim.org
Direct Toll Free: 1-844-882-3233 and ask for the agents by name or extension.
Lead Agents – Claudia (ext. 13302), or Michael (ext. 15004).

• Canadian Applicants: Donations to MMI for travel are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “We Partner” team: wepartner.na@raptim.org
905-465-4300 or Toll Free: 1-844-442-6978 & ask for the agents by name.
Lead Agents - Anca (ext. 32327), or Connie (ext. 31771)

• International Applicants: Travel arrangement can be procured locally or following the Canadian instructions above.

• Airport: Vasquez Cobo airport in Leticia (LET) via El Dorado International Airport Bogotá (BOG) on one continuous ticket.

Immunizations


We strongly recommend that you consult a travel clinic, as they are aware of outbreaks and can suggest preventative immunizations. Specifically, inquire about malaria prophylaxis. All routine immunizations should be up-to-date. Please check the following website for the most current information.

• Americans: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/colombia

• Canadians: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/countries-pays/country-pays-eng.php?id=352

Accommodations and Meals


MMI will arrange local accommodations for the team.
• Laundry Service: usually available for additional fee
• AC: dependent on location
• Phone Service: check with your cell phone provider, roaming is very expensive.
• Wifi/Internet: dependent on location
• Voltage: 110V.
• Meals: MMI will provide meals for the team. Dietary restrictions can be indicated on your application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Be sure to bring your own re-usable water bottle with a wide mouth for refilling. Purified water is supplied.
Extreme Amazon: The goal is to provide delicious and balanced meals, but there are times when refrigeration is not possible; so, local food from each village like fish and jungle meat (such as crocodile) is served. Vegetables are not easy to come by in the jungle.

Culture

• Language: Spanish (official)
• Religion:
- Roman Catholic: 90%
- Other: 10%
• Government: Presidential Republic

Currency


The money in Colombia is called the Colombian Peso (COP). MMI staff will help you exchange money. All major credit cards are accepted in Colombia. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted. You must bring US dollars in good condition - torn, stamped or old bills will not be exchanged. Also, $1 bills are not useful in Colombia; they are exchanged for less than other bills. $100.00 bills that are older than 2006 or start with the series CB are not accepted.

About Amazon

Region BACKGRound

The Amazon is an incredibly unique place. It is the world’s largest rain forest and river system, and the most biologically diverse place on Earth. It contains millions of species, most of them still undescribed. 

The Amazon contains millions of species, most of them still undescribed, and some of the world's most unusual wildlife. It is one of Earth's last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles and pink dolphins, and home to thousands of birds and butterflies. Tree-dwelling species include southern two-toed sloths, pygmy marmosets, saddleback and emperor tamarins, and Goeldi's monkeys. The diversity of the region is staggering.

More than 30 million people, including 350 indigenous and ethnic groups, live in the Amazon and depend on nature for agriculture, clothing and traditional medicines. Most live in large urban centers, but all residents rely on the Amazon’s natural bounty for food, shelter and livelihoods.

    GEOGRAPHY

    LOCATION:

    A vast region that spans across eight rapidly developing countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, an overseas territory of France.

    GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES:

    2 30 S, 46 00 W

    MAP REFERENCES:

    South America

     

    LAND BOUNDARIES:

    TOTAL:

    5.5 million km²

    BORDER COUNTRIES:

    Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana

    COASTLINE:

    N/A

    MARITIME CLAIMS:

    N/A

    CLIMATE:

    Tropical rain forest

    TERRAIN:

    Terra firme uplands, but seasonally inundated bottomland rain forest occupies the floodplains

    ELEVATION EXTREMES:

    LOWEST POINT:

    General ground level - 100 m

    HIGHEST POINT:

    Neblina peak - 3,040 m

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