Province of Misiones
The Guaraní people are one of the most important indigenous groups of South America. Their traditional range stretches from Paraguay to Brazil and Bolivia and extends to the Northeast province of Misiones, in Argentina. Despite their dominance of the Amazon has been dramatically reduced through the past three centuries, the Guaraní are still a very representative and vibrant presence through most of the region. Today they keep struggling to preserve their identity, traditions and language, while trying to develop new options for their economy.
The Mbya Guaranì community of Jasy Pora (that means Enchanted Moon) lives in the province of Misiones, 12 km away from a small town called Puerto Iguazú, near to the border with Brazil and Paraguay. This area is crowded with hotels, and casinos, being a few steps away from the majestic Iguazú Falls, one of Argentina’s major touristic sites within the very popular Iguazú National Park. This rainforest is home to the jaguar and the ocelot, as well as more than 2,000 species of vascular plants and birds such as the toucans and macaws.
The Jasy Pora community, however, still lives in very basic conditions, being marginalized from the ongoing tourism business, and in need of proper water and power supplies and with no effective access to formal education and healthcare. Through the past few years, Jasy Pora spontaneously started to develop small initiatives to attract tourists in the village, such as a guided tour through the rainforest walking the Guaraní trail, and a children choir that sings typical Guaraní songs before the guests leave.
BIOPHILIA started to shape a development program with Jasy Pora after being solicited by Roberto Moreira, the charismatic and genuinely committed community leader. The goal is to create a series of initiatives to foster a new flow of non-intrusive, sustainable eco-tourism that will contribute to develop an independent economy and to improve the quality of life. Jasy Pora and BIOPHILIA will work together to build up 3 small cabañas (bungalows) within the village in order to welcome respectful national and international tourists who are genuinely interested in learning from the native culture while experiencing a few days in the rainforest.
The facilities will be built up in location, with traditional materials and local workforce, and will be designed to be 100% eco-friendly — in the utmost respect of the Guaraní traditions and the environment, and in line with BIOPHILIA’s standards. The community will also be provided with specialized professional training, and will create a set of side-activities to keep enhancing and preserving the glorious Guaraní culture.
PHOTOGRAPHS by Marco Vernaschi