During the dry season, the families of a larger community tend to disperse, taking advantage of the ample beaches and low water to fish and seek buried turtle eggs.


A Machiguenga man at a temporary encampment on the beach in Manu. During the dry season, May to September, the Machiguenga disperse from their villages to take advantage of the lower river waters and ample beaches for fishing.

During the dry season, monkeys and other game animals are not hunted by preference, because they are not fat. Instead, they focus their efforts on fishing. Unlike hunting, which is an all-male activity, fishing often includes women and children.

Small boy, big fish. Machiguenga children begin from a very young age helping their parents fish, hunt and gather sustenance from the rain forest. These fish were caught using barbasco, a natural fish poison which is the source of rotenone, an important biodegradable pesticide.

When the water is particularly low, families put in the barbasco root, a natural fish poison, to stun fish so they can be gathered easily. Men also use bow and arrow to spear fish .

In the dry season, a skilled hunter with good hunting medicines can bow hunt for catfish and sabalo.

Gardening is also an important activity, where the Machiguenga obtain their staple crops of manioc, bananas and corn. Gardens are felled from small areas of forest and then burned at the end of the dry season, releasing the nutrients into the soil. The gardens are maintained actively for only a few years, and then the growth of selected fruit trees combines with natural regeneration of the forest to produce an enriched secondary forest area where game animals can live, and which will eventually return to a primary forest state.

Men do the felling, burning and planting of gardens, whereas women take care of harvesting the manioc and other crops and cooking the food.

 
click here to return to the Manu Living Edens home page
Producer's Journal | The People of Manu | Flora and Fauna | History | Conservation
Classroom Resources | Trivia Challenge | Related Links | Screen Saver | About the Film | Manu Credits