From the Amazon jungle to the concrete jungle: Cantagallo - MEDLIFE

From the Amazon jungle to the concrete jungle: Cantagallo


In the old district of Rimac in Lima, which is cut through by the Rimac River, the “Shipibos” (a community from the Amazon jungle) have found a place to live.

More than 10 years ago, Cantagallo was used as a landfill for those who lived in surrounding districts — nobody would have ever thought to live there. Years later, in 2001, approximately 15 families from the Shipibo community arrived in Lima from the Amazon to participate in protests against the ruling government at the time.


Lacking the means to return to their homeland and thinking of finding a better future for their children, they found the uninhabited land that seemed to closely resemble the banks of the Rimac River and other rivers in their homeland of the Amazon. Little by little, more families settled and eventually they created the Association of Shipibo Artisan Residents in Lima (Ashirel).


Living in the capital has a very strong impact on the Shipibo families, especially considering that they live in a desolate area of Lima that is very different from the damp jungle. However, the families of Cantagallo continue to maintain their customs and traditions from their native region in the Amazon. Additionally, they have created a fusion of cultures that has proven to be an alluring attraction for tourists, who buy their crafts.


Creating necklaces, bows and arrows and even a small organic garden where they grow fruits and herbs from the jungle, the Shipibo people have transformed Cantagallo into a safe haven for all Shipibos who are trying to find their place in the concrete jungle that is Lima. Currently, 300 Shipibo people live in Cantagallo.


Although this community is only minutes away from Peru’s central government, it still lacks basic services such as water, electricity and sewage.

MEDLIFE is currently working to integrate this community into our Mobile Clinics and development projects.