The Amazon is a fascinating place. Not only because it’s the most biodiverse region in the world, but also because society rules are pretty different compared to those in urban areas. If you own land but don’t live there for a while, it’s pretty easy to lose it. Neighbours move their property a little bit and come closer. Towns are getting bigger and need to expand. Squatters come to stay.
I accompanied a friend who lost his piece of Amazon land in Pará, Brazil. As he didn’t live at the property, strangers just came to stay and built their houses. After 20 years of not visiting the place, he went back for the first time. His wooden house had completely rotten away – except for the bathroom he had built. Others had since built houses and even a church. But when we visited this new community, no one was there. It seemed like the squatters had also decided to leave.
We also visited another property owned by my friend’s father. His father had built a large house there with the intention of turning it into a hotel. He eventually gave up on this project, but the house was still there. No squatters, just beautiful green nature creeping in.
Thinking of the Amazon, the images above are definitely not the first to pop in mind. We think of vast areas of forest, animals, indigenous communities. But towns and cities, agriculture and land expansion are also part of the Amazon. It was an interesting experience to visit these abandoned houses in the Amazon, for sure!