Saturday, April 06, 2013

Traditional Amazon boat-making ....

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In the waterways of the Amazon basin, ships and boats are a lifeline connecting isolated communities with more developed areas. And indigenously-made wooden boats continue to be a mainstay of transportation in the region. In Macapa, Brazil, tradesmen still practice traditional ship-building--making the city a hub for the craft.
No giant factories, no complex machines. The Amazon’s traditional wooden boats are built in outdoor workshops like these. Craftsmen here use just their hands and simple tools to build and renovate the vessels.
Marcos Ramos, craftsman, said "I have learnt ship-building from my father since I was very little. I started from simpler techniques when I was eight, and when I reached the age of 16, I was capable of building a ship all by myself."
 

In the waterways of the Amazon basin, ships and boats are a lifeline connecting
isolated communities with more developed areas.
From the initial design to the last nail, Marcos and his sons build every ship entirely by themselves. He’s lost count of how many ships he’s made over the last 23 years--his experience and skills have amassed a loyal group of customers in the region.
Jose Souza, local resident, said "He is very talented and his ships have the best quality, everybody knows that. In fact, he constructed this ship together with his family. He built the main frame, one of his sons made the exterior decoration, and his other son finished the varnishing. This boat is the fruit of family collaboration."
Marcos infuses each ship with immense thought and care-the choice of wood is one example.
In the waterways of the Amazon basin, ships and boats are a lifeline connecting
isolated communities with more developed areas.
Marcos said "Normally I would pick sucupira or itauba. They are tree species particular to the Amazon forest. Because they are very tenacious and resistant to decay. If I used any other woods, the ship wouldn’t last long before all kinds of problems would emerge."
Although these ships are such an important part of the life in the Amazon, the traditional shipbuilding craft is on the decline.
Marcos says his sons are willing to help for now, but they don’t want to dedicate their lives to the trade. Eventually, they’ll probably leave his workshop, but in the meantime, they’ll help him build this ship-after six months, when it’s finished, it will be sent out to the river, when the flood tide rises and invites the boat to its currents.
.cntv.cn
6/4/13
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