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Published: July 26th 2006
Hello all, here's another update from Amazonia.
I did try the local hallucenagenic, hayawasca, but so afraid of barfing, i took it in small little doses, so i didn't throw up, but i also didn't have any efffects from it. oh well.
Last sunday our volunteer coordinator arranged a local visit to a community living right across the river. We entertained the kids while the locals prepared lunch for us. The kids were so sweet. one little boy adopted me. he came and sat on my lap, holding my hand. he loved my bracelet that i'd been wearing, so i put it around his ankle. he was tickled. the kids all loved to see themselves on the digital camera. lunch was amazing, and all in all, it was a really fun day.
We also went on a really cool Bosque (walk through the forest) the other day. the guides here are the BEST. they know all the medicinal qualities of the trees and tell folklore stories about healings from the plants and trees. It started to rain early on and then came down torrentially for the next 4 hours. We were amongst the biggest trees i've ever seen, so
our cool Bosque leader, keeping dry in the torrential rain with a leaf over his head. the other guy is a volunteer from quito. look behind them to see the massive base of that tree.
masssive that the bottom of the trunks would not even fit in my camera viewfinder. Juan Gabriel, our guide, said that people used to believe that the spirits of these tall trees can come into you if you stand by them. It's so cool to see the remnats of these cultures, the reverence and connection they had to the forest. There was one story of a tree that makes you younger by rubbing the bark. (i tried it, we'll see), and all kinds of healing stories of every kind. So so many of these trees have medicinal properties. It's clear we were meant to live in harmony with them, not cut them down. Being knee deep in virgin forest, surrrounded by towering trees and rain all around was really cool! We ate lunch on some big leaves that Don Gabriel cut down. it was yummy. We had quite a few river crossings and some butt scooting across logs (see pics). By the end, i was completely filty and ready to be dry and clean!!!
The next day a boatload of young college volunteers arrived and swamped our camp. But one of the owners of the station gave a talk
Lunch on Bosque
eating lunch on a leaf. it was good!!!!
about the issues of conservation that i listened in on. After being here a while, i could see firsthand what he was talking about. The station has an organic garden that is meant to be a model of sustainable growing for the locals. Only problem is, they haven't figured out how to grow anything but cucumbers and pineapple. The soil is unfertile, and the rain easily wahes away the nutrients, or the insects eat the plants. so you solve one problem and uncover another. Chickens keep away insects, but dig up the plants. It's a complicated issue.
People used to live sustainably by hunting and gathering in the forest, and then they would move to a new spot for a few years to let the forest regenerate. Problems came when people built permanent cities and started clearing land for cattle. So the goal of our station is to educate people on living sustainably without clearing the forest. Meanwhile, the oil companies come in and create problems all their own. We were told horror stories about leaks, polluted lakes, loss of wildlife and damage done by oil companies. It's so frustrating to live in today's day and age. I would've
Rooms eats lemon ants
my roomie Sarah, eating lemon ants on Bosque. yes, i tried them!
done so much better amongst the native american indian culture where people were smart enough to realize there was a necessary symbiosis between man and nature. Why did we get stupider? At any rate, as heartbreaking as it was, i left like i was exactly were i should be, for the first time in many years, at the heart of my passion, in the midst of this battle to save the rainforest, being educated on the issues. And the feeling of finally being in the place where i've wanted to be for so long, is indescribable.
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