Belén District lies on the edge of Iquitos in the floodplain of the Itaya River, a tributary of the Amazon. Most of the 65,000 inhabitants are poor, many live in extreme poverty living without electricity. None of the residents have clean water or sanitation. Every year, the river fluctuates 15-30 feet requiring homes and other structures to float or built on stilts.
I went to Belén with the help of a local NGO that runs clinics in the area. Going door to door in a boat, I was introduced to and interviewed a half dozen teens who are growing up here, confronted by the health difficulties inherent in such living as well as widespread violence, overcrowding, inescapable poverty and alcoholism.