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October 01 , 2008

To Know the Rainforest


In 1965, Mike Peterson, an American Peace Corps volunteer midway through his two-year service in Colombia, is heading into the rainforest with friends. Thanks to a land-reform policy—“land without men for men without land”—his friends intend to claim a parcel of free jungle land to homestead. Mike eagerly accepts the invitation to be a part of this life-changing experience with them.

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No one could have predicted just how life-changing the experience truly would be.

While traveling overnight to the rainforest by chiva—the rustic, open-air buses of the Andes—Mike and his friends are pulled into a situation they can’t fully understand. They attempt to rescue a young woman from her abusive companion, a ruffian who turns out to be an employee and friend of Don Trujillo, the vengeful rancher and smuggler who controls the flow of contraband along the Urabá coast. In payment for their kindness, the homesteaders may have provoked the wrath of the unpredictable Trujillo and his gun-slinging gauchos.

The mountainous forest they are heading into is a refuge for Indians, bandits, smugglers, and outlaws, as well as the many camouflaged, lethal creatures that inhabit the woods, swamps, and waterways. Mike and his friends must find the strength and courage to survive the many challenges of their new rainforest home, but the promise of love and hope keeps them going.

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