As the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Amazon Goodwill Tour pulls up stakes and prepares to head farther downstream, the volunteers look back on the past five months.  This is the first in a series of articles that tells their story.

In April 2009, Mexico City, Scientology volunteers were preparing for a Goodwill Tour to help indigenous people of the Amazon improve their lives through simple technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard.

The leader of Troup 333 of the Cuauhtémoc Scouts heard about the Amazon Tour. The skill and compassion of the Volunteer Ministers confirmed his impression of Mr. Hubbard, creator of the program, whom he first encountered through the pages of Dianetics in 1975.

The troop leader devised a plan to combine forces—Scouting and Volunteer Ministers—as he saw in the Volunteer Ministers program a technology to better enable the scouts to fulfill their oath: “to help other people at all times.”

His idea was to invite a team of his most trusted scouts to join the Goodwill Tour, learn the technology and gain practical experience in using it under the guidance of experienced Volunteer Ministers.

As the Scouts loved the idea, the Scout leader proposed it to the Scientology Goodwill Tour and selected three candidates from among his best group leaders to form this unique partnership.

The Scouts and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers joined hands as the leader called on them to “work very hard and achieve the purpose of bettering the lives of the people of the Amazon.”  Expecting the best from them all, he said, “This is a great responsibility and we know that you will do excellent work.” With that, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Amazon Goodwill Tour left for Iquitos, Peru, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest, and the gateway to the Amazon.

As their story continues in part two of this series, the skills and teamwork of the team are put to the test, as they arrive in Iquitos just as the Amazon River reaches the highest level ever recorded, prompting Peru’s President Garcia to declare a 60-day state of emergency.