Work and World

Amazon River Monster Project – Smarter Every Day 147

Hey it’s me Destin. Welcome back to Smarter Every Day. Every December it’s a tradition for me to make a video down here in Peru about an orphanage project I’ve been working on. Specifically it’s with Not Forgotten and I make the video every December because I want people to vote for Not Forgotten on the Project for Awesome website. This year I’m not just gonna update you on the orphanage. Apparently there’s an Amazonian river monster project that I’ve been a part of that I didn’t know about. So today let’s go check out the orphanage then I’ll tell you about river monsters. Let’s get Smarter Every Day. If you’re new to this project just know that for several years some friends of mine have been working to build an orphanage in Iquitos Peru because it has one of the highest rates of abandonment in the world. With your support, last year we completed the first phase. Check this out. There’s one major difference this year from last year. Look closely, you’ll see it. There’s kids.. all over the place. [laugh] We have an operational orphanage in Peru. It’s a big deal. Cause these guys are not on the streets. The system in Iquitos is so saturated with abandoned children, specifically boys, that as soon as the paperwork and licensing to setup the homes was complete, over a dozen boys were immediately accepted. These kids are hilarious. And for some reason they really love making zombie faces. Traditional orphanages work like this. You get somone to build a really big building that can house a bunch of kids and then you hire a couple of workers to run the place and provide for the physical needs of the children. Not Forgotten is different. The focus of the entire structure is a father and a mother. As boys enter the home they become brothers and the entire house becomes a family. The boys are given stability by consistent love from parents. Let’s meet the families. Meet Merry and Moises. [spanish] (Destin) Many families interviewed for the position of house parents and these were among the first selected. They’re super patient, they laugh a lot and in just the short amount of time I spent with them I could tell they’re doing this for all the right reasons. One of the coolest things to me is that they have dinners with family, like a family unit. So we’re disturbing dinner. This is dinner time at Moises’ house. [spanish] OK one of the host parents, Isaac is a music teacher and he’s about to play for us. [music] [applause] Alright, check this out. Somebody saw the video last year and sent in an anonymous donation to give the kids transportation to and from school. So they use the van to bring the kids here to school. It’s a public school but it’s privately funded, which means it has really cool stuff like a library, a computer classroom, there’s a wood shop, there’s also a place to learn about cooking. We factored in the cost of a psychologist to periodically visit the boys to make sure all their emotional needs are being met. Also if the boys are having trouble with any subject at school they get special tutoring from a private professor that comes to the home to make sure they don’t fall behind. Education is key, and for me this is one of the most important parts. Just listen to how excited these boys are to be learning English from Isaac’s wife, Ruth, their mother. [excited interactions] So one of the cool things about this place is that these guys have their own rooms. And they’re very proud of them. So we’re gonna get a little tour of the room. Can you show me? This is Jack, he’s gonna tell us about his space. [spanish] It’s your bed. [spanish] Yeah, your closet. [spanish] Your drawers. Yeah. Closet Closet? [spanish] Escritorio, Si. Bueno. [laughs] He tried it in English and said it was his closet. Perfecto. So Rodbin is trying to catch the river monster. So he’s got a hook here. This is for the fish? If you visit the meat market at Iquitos you’ll see pig heads, alligator tails, and even turtles which I didn’t see coming. One of the most common foods is called the arapaima. It’s one of the largest fresh water fish in the world. Three years ago the local director of Not Forgotten, Jean, released six of these things into the pond in hopes of some day using them to feed children at the property. I’ve heard the locals call these things paiche but I’ve never actually seen one. So it looks like Rodbin has caught a paiche. Let’s go check it out. You serious? Look at that thing. That thing is huge! OK we’ve found the river monster. This is a paiche. They’re gigantic. Look at that. Holy cow. I’m going in with the river monster. I’m gonna pick it up. Holy cow. Oh my gosh. You’re gonna get this picture right? It’s like a dinosaur. Here we go. OK, I don’t wanna hurt him. Look at the slime. Pick it up one more time? You’re gonna get a good pic? Alright, so people think that we’ve been working on an orphanage down here. We’re actually raising huge river monsters. You want to touch it? Look at the kids. Yeah you touch it? Alright let’s get him back in. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Smarter Every Day. If you enjoyed it, please consider going to the Project for Awesome website and voting for Not Forgotten, but more importantly if you’d like to partner with us please consider going to You can go there, you can help us offset the operating costs. We’re trying to save abandoned children and give them a stable environment to grow up in. I think it’s a really good thing. I support it heavily. I’ll leave a link right over here. You can click it. Go consider helping us offset our operating costs for getting kids off the streets. It’s a good thing. I’m Destin, you’re getting Smarter Every Day. Have a good one. [spanish] Alright. No paiche were harmed in the.. Oh wait, we’re eating it! [laughs]
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