When I was researching about the Manta-Manaus route, I was getting suspicious on why there is so little information about the future international port of Providencia, on the Napo River. You would think that if this will be an important node in the route, it will be everywhere in the mass media, right? Well, let me tell you that sometimes Puerto Providencia is not even drawn on maps. The reason is simple: it is a really small town and when I say small, I mean only two families live here: the Machoas and the Grefas. Oh, and there is also the construction site of the future port which is currently stopped due to the lack of money.
I had my serious doubts about this commercial route and being in this town was a confirmation about my pessimist view: The Napo River in this part is not deep enough and big boats won´t be able to access the port. In order to fix it a ton of money should be invested. And being China one of the major investors, it will be almost impossible with their current financial crisis.
The Machoa family was reluctant to let me photograph them, they were afraid of some kind of retaliation from the government, but I did´t understand the exact reasons. On the other side, the Grefa family was happy to help when I mentioned I had a grant from the Culture Ministry for the project. They live next to the construction site and run a small restaurant and grocery store for the construction workers. The head of the workers also didn’t have anything against me taking pictures of the remaining workers and the construction site.
I arrived by boat and stayed only about 36 hours in the village. During that time I ate and talked with the construction workers, saw their base camp, talked about the Manta-Manaos route with Marcelo Grefa, photographed his family and slept on a hammock in his house. Interesting fact: I only saw two women in the village (Marcelo’s wife and daughter).
This is a selection of images of the first day in the village.
Next stop: Nuevo Rocafuerte