The rivers are heavily polluted by raw sewage from cities upstream from the Indigenous Reserve, dredging for gold and illegal logging operations.
The Pilon Lajas Indigenous Reserve is located near Rurrenabaque, Bolivia. There are about 3000 people living in 25 communities. Only a small number of the members of the two tribes live within the Reserve but as the tree cover of the Amazon Rainforest is denuded, more tribal families are relocating within the Reserve. Some settle in an existing community and some choose to establish their own. These new communities may have as few as two or three families. That means that there may be less than ten people living in the community.
All materials except for stones, sand and wood for forms must be brought by boat. The tubing is brought to Rurrenabacue by truck and then transported by boat for the 2-3 day trip upriver to the community. From there it must be hand carried to the safe water source. All digging and clearing is done by manual labor. If cement is needed the forms for shaping the structure are hand made from nearby saplings.
Everything must be hauled in from town there are no stores after leaving Rurrenabaque.
The villagers do all the work including gathering the stones and gravel that are carried in by hand from several miles away. This cistern is located at a natural spring that is nearly a mile from the village. The water will be collected here and piped to the village. Men, women and children all help to build the cistern and lay pipe.
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