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Sitting and watching the activity at the docks in Pucallpa is exciting, fun, strange, different and unique.  The long, narrow wooden boats laden with bananas, mangoes, papayas, and other types of cargo come from small villages along the Amazon and Ucayali Rivers.  They navigate here flowing along with the swift current or propelled by the small hand steered Peka Peka motor, so named for the sound the engine makes as it labors under the weight of the cargo. Peka, peka, peka.  Tying up to makeshift docks, the workers unload their cargo within a manner of minutes on the muddy brown shores.10


It is a whirlwind of activity as the cargo is offloaded by men carrying loads upwards of 250 – 300 pounds seemingly without straining and yet they personally weigh about 150 pounds soaking wet.

16There are children that stand in the water and retrieve the single bananas that fall off the bunches. These are the ones unsaleable but are free for those willing to wait in the dirty, muddy water along the shoreline. So the girl waits in the water with her bag.

Dock retrieving bananasThe frenzy of motion captivates your senses as bunches of bananas are lined up in columns and stacks for sale.  Other cargo is offloaded and often hundreds of merchants clamor around to buy the fresh fruits that will be sold just yards away from the docks.


15The buzz of activity makes you want to run down and buy a bunch or two!! Yet reason holds us back – at least for now! The Peruvians make so many things out of bananas whether fried, mashed, boiled, raw.  It is an inexpensive staple and used much like we use the potato.

Dock bananas
The docks. No labor unions. No organized anything! Just people working hard and earning a simple living. It’s a beautiful thing.

Swinging In His Mighty Grip,