Informations for volunteers

The natural environment of the Amazon rainforest is amazingly vivid and manifold. Its unparalleled biodiversity includes peccaries, macaws, toucans, sloths, jaguars, monkeys and deer. The region is home to millions insect species, tens of thousends of plants and invertebrate, over 3500 species of fish and some 2000 species of birds and mammals. The diversity of plants is the highest on earth with estimates of over 75,000 types of trees and 150,000 species of higher plants may inhabit one square kilometer alone.

Since life in the jungle is unique, the information below is designed to provide you with some basic conditions you should know before coming here. Please read and consider the following carefully:

Location of Oiyakaha:

Oiyakaha is situated 125km north of Manaus, Brazil and 250km south of the equator. The nearest settlement is Jardim Floresta  (15km away or half an hour by car). The nearest town is Presidente Figueiredo (about 35km) and the nearest city is Manaus (140km / two and a half hours by car). There are regular bus services between Jardim Foresta and Presidente Figueiredo or Manaus. Oiyakaha has no car of its own. Getting from or to Oiyakaha from Jardim Foresta has to be arranged by taxi or mototaxi. Currently Oiyakaha only has one wooden house of 7 x 4m.

way   way   way Getting there....

Oiyakaha   Oiyakaha   Oiyakaha The hut

Living conditions at Oiyakaha are very basic. This includes the following:

  • litte electricity
  • no telephone or internet. The closest place to communicate is Presidente Fiqueiredo. Internet costs around R$2,5 or US$1,5 / €1 per hour.
  • drinking water comes from a fresh water spring on the property
  • personal hygiene and washing your clothes will take place in the river
  • we will sleep in hammocks

Food   hammock   bathing Eaten, sleeping, bathing


Commintment / Skills:

  • we expect you to help about 7 hours a day
  • minimum stay is about a month
  • the types of work are manly ecological constructions, agricultural aktivities like planting, harvesting brazil nuts, and marking trees
  • everybody will help with daily chores, such as cooking and cleaning up
  • there are no special skills required, but some apt hands, common-sence and a love to live a natural and simple life
  • it would be good if you speak portugese, since local people mostly do not speak foreign languages. While with Markus, you can speak english, german, dutsch, japanese, portugese and spanish.
  • please consider Oiyakaha is distant to other communities and there are few people around.
  • Oiyakaha is still in its formation and there is not always someone around. Please contact us before you come to make sure there is somebody, you know how to arrive and to inform yourself of the latest developements and projects.


Things to bring:

  • long trousers
  • sleeping bag, warm pyjama and clothing (it gets cold at nights)
  • brush, rough washcloth or loofah to clean yourself
  • rainboots and coats (good rainboots can be purchased locally)
  • flashlight
  • hat (also available locally)
  • air-tight tupper-box to stuff your electronics and any other belongings which you want to have protected from humidity and water
  • pocket knife might be useful


To preserve the pristine condition of the natural environment, please note the following principles on Oiyakaha:

  • no use of soap to wash yourself or cloths. *read the abstract "Soap is not good for you" below
  • refrain from using mineral oil based creams
  • avoid non-organic waste as every piece has to be taken back and deposited of in the city
  • no smoking


Environmental conditions:

  • the sun rises around 6:00 and sets at 18:00
  • the average year-round daily air temperatures is 30°C
  • rainy season is from December until May, during which it rains almost once every day.
  • relative humidity of the air is over 90%. Anything can grow mold, including photographic equipment. (There are way to prevent this)
  • there are no mosquito's during the daytime. Very rarely, a few mosquito's (one or two) appear at night.
  • Malaria and dengue fever are potential hazards in the entire Amazon. There is no vaccine for either. You can take pills preventively against malaria, which have strong side effects (read the medical precautions). I recommend homeopathic medicine like quinine or herbs like artemisia annua against malaria. Both Presidente Figueiredo and Jardin Floresta are known to have few to no cases of malaria and dengue. Medical services in Presidente Figueiredo are fairly good and free of charge. For detailed information on dengue or malaria you can search wikipedia.org online.
  • following vaccinations are recommends for Brazil: Yellow fever, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Hepatitis A. For stays longer than four weeks, these vaccinations are also recommended Hepatitis B, Rabies and Typhus. Please check your local medicalauthorities for accurate and updated information.
  • you will get bitten or stung by ticks and ants. However, neither transmit disease.
  • there are dangerous animals like: poisonous serpents, jaguars, tarantulas and wasps. No animal attacks humans when unprovoked; they will only attack as a last resort when feeling threatened. Leopards are very shy and keep away from human presence.
  • orientation in the forest is difficult and one can lose one’s way easily. Vegetation limits depth of sight and things look very similar.

Disclaimer: After having read the above, please also consider the following. People have lived, and continue to live, in the Amazons for millennia in consort with nature. The rainforest may be overwhelming at first, and the list of dangers staggering, but the same goes for the urban jungle. City life includes hazards like traffic accidents, mugging, exhaust fumes, electromagnetic radiation and an endless list of carcinogenic substances.


*Soap is not good for you

Today we have a wide variety of soaps for diverse kinds of applications. They not only wash various body parts but also different skin or hair types, treat acne or dandruff, kill bacteria and germs or wash off cosmetics. Soap is growing out of its original purpose of a simple cleaning agent into being a source of general well-being and self-appreciation. On the wrappings are written auspicious promises like: stimulation, revitalization, purification, relaxation or nourishing balsam. Still your well-being and that of your skin and hair is much better off without their aspirations. The following are a sample of reasons why your personal hygiene shouldn't be done with soaps:
a) curd soaps are not pH neutral and offset the pH balance of the skin. The skin takes 24 hours to recover the balance of its acid mantel. The acid mantel is a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin.
b) curd soaps and especially liquid soaps contain tensides. These too disturb the acid mantel and remove lipids in the skin, increasing the penetrability and decreasing the skin protection against the environment. Conventional tensides also can enter the skin and stay there after the washing process. This can cause long term skin irritations.
c) There are lot’s of scary ingredients in soaps and cosmetics: e.g. some tensides are made form war gasses like polyethylengykol = PEG, or Polypropylglykol = PPG, there is also Copolyol, Polyglykol, Polysorbate. Conventional creams contain petroleum and its derivates in it too.
Concerning the use of soap for feminine hygiene, the same is applicable as mentioned above. Healthy skin can protect itself against bacteria or germs. It does its job best, without the interference by cosmetics or soaps which disrupt its very protective mechanism: the acid mantel. Anti-bacterial soaps can be very potent, but after its short-lived effect wears off, the skin is left defenseless.
At least until a hundred years ago and still today plenty of women do not use soap for their hygiene. It is reasonable to believe any contemporary women can do the same and live healthy without the use of soap. Complementary, men can do without soap, too. Shaving goes perfectly using vegetable oil instead of soap.
Hair and skin care is best done by using a brush and comb. This not only helps to clean your self and keep your hair smooth, but also increases blood circulation in the skin, stimulates the expulsion of toxic’s and prevents cellulitis. Additionally most defilements like mud and sweat is water based and thus easily cleansed by water. Greasy dirt can be tackled with hot water or through mechanical means like scrubbing. Only in rare cases the use of soap makes sense.

This abstract has been greatly influenced by the following book: Kehrbusch, Susanne: Haut und Haar, emu Verlag, 2. Auflage 2002 (Skin and Hair, emu publisher, 2nd edition 2002)

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