Connection, Collaboration, Conservation
A BRIEF BACKGROUND OF OUR RAINFOREST CONSERVATION AND CULTURAL HERITAGE REVALIDATION EFFORTS
For over 27 years we have been holding Rainforest Medicine Council Gatherings with indigenous communities in the Upper Amazon. Besides being life changing events for the participants we have used funds generated from these retreats to enact and uphold our devotion to what we consider, the three spheres, of the alchemical cauldron of the growing planetary shift towards sustainability. These are:
- Cultural Heritage Revalidation
- Rainforest and Wildlife Conservation
- Restoration of Degraded Lands
Our approach is holistic and direct in nature. It is aimed at finding creative ways to facilitate healing and renewal and thus, be a part of bridging the gap that erode the fundamental pillars of the paradise that is earth, safeguarding the rainforest, ancestral wisdom and restoring the earth, for the integrity of the planet. These acts are small in comparison with global predicament that we face as a humanity. Non the less we hold high in the faith that our work is touching the hearts of the people and making a change, if even just on a subtle. We want to believe that these efforts will reverberate only auspiciousness goodness for present and future generations, so we continue with what is in our reach, with a willing hand and a humble heart.
Current Initiatives 2018 ~ 2019
In Costa Rica
- Marine turtle conservation initiative under way for the 12thconsecutive year on our beach in Costa Rica. Each year we protect over 100 nests of endangered sea turtles on Rincon de San Josecito beach. The project upholds environmental education workshops at the local school house, English classes for local youth and continual beach cleanups. Thanks to a collaboration of efforts with the Fundación Corcovado, we are taking this initiative now to next level!
Go Fund me Campaign for Cesareo Piaguaje. Maestro Cesareo, now well over 100 years of age is a great-hearted Siekopai elder who still holds his ceremonies and healing practice. Our friendship with him and his family span since 1994.
Please view the campaign for more info.
- Publication of a trilingual (Paicoca, Español, English) mythology magazine for Siekopai school and international cultural community. 70 Siekopai myths have been documented and translated to these three languages. Interwoven in the mythology are profound truths and moralities relating to everyday life. The faith is to accomplish this publication in 2019.
- Guayusa Tea House With our compadres in the outskirts of Archidona Ecuador we have created a small supply chain for Guayusa tea. This project is a market-driven rainforest conservation and restoration initiative, linking conservation and good health by offering what we consider to be the finest tea on earth to a wider audience. We seek to bridge the gap between environmental and cultural awareness while contributing to good health!
- Continued solidarity to “Dressing the Mountains in Green project”
Some of the many acts of solidarity have looked like this
- Campaign to halt an illegal road that was being planned to pass literally right next maestro Cesareo Piaguajes’ ceremonial lodge. Thank goodness we were successful. This was accomplished through a report presented to the regional government that now has as a constitutional measure the protection of the Indigenous cultures. The report outlined that importance for the ceremony of yagé, now protected under Ecuador’s new constitution, to survive, there must be quietude and privacy in the vicinity of the ceremonial lodge. The report was signed by Secoya representatives and the elder himself made signed and presented the requested to re-route the road. It turns out the management plan that was used to approve the road had the route much further in and away from the river, nowhere near the old man’s ceremonial lodge. The road was part of a political campaign and being that there was a strong earthquake in Costal Ecuador, the local municipalities budgets were cut. All these factors joined, and the road was not built. When we arrived at grandfather’s home, there was a road-swath recently cut right next to the ceremonial lodge, which animated out of great concern to enact solidarity and present the report. In order for a report of this nature to be taken seriously we were obliged to hire a professional cartographer to make a study of the issue, a local Ecuadorian technician was hired to draft the report according top government format.
- New wheel chair for grand maestro Cesareo. He’s in good health, but his knees won’t hold his body weight given his age. An all-terrain wheel chair was specially built for his needs in Berkeley California.
- Advancements with the initiative to assist Amazanga community in pursuing community recognition. A step towards the fulfillment of the Llushin River biological reserve.
- Ancestral lodge for grandfather Cesareo was built, complete with cement path from his house to the ceremonial lodge. Also, we installed, with a butt load of hard work, a cement water tower for the maestro, in order for him to have running water in his house and toilet. This was accomplished with a team effort, Thanks to Miguel Payaguaje for overseeing the building of the ceremony lodge and compadre Juan Pilco for the cement path and tower for the water tank.
- Support to Mamallacta family to build theirpurina tambu(ancestral wilderness ecology study getaway) at Napo-Galeras. Thank to Benjamin Mamallacta for his sustained efforts.
- Documentation of Secoya myths for a trilingual education booklet in progress for the Secoya schools complete with illustrations. This was overseen by a collaboration of efforts with Miguel Payaguaje.
- Fiber glass canoe building projects with Secoya families.
- Supporting health brigades.
2010 ~ Protection efforts and campaign at Napo-Galeras sacred mountain in Ecuador
- A successful conservation initiative in Ecuador led to the enlargement of Napo-Galeras National Park and the protection of the Tropical Wet Forest east of the park and area called “Forest of the Healing Winds.”
- An illegal road was stopped through the drafting of a technical report, presented to the Ecuadorian government. It happened to be International year for Biodiversity as declared by UNESCO, who we contracted, they showed support through an official letter to the Ecuadorian ministry of the environment endorsing our petition and asking the government to do the same. This helped for sure and the government got back on the conservation map the area in reference. The road being planned illegally by logging group was halted.
2000-present: We have; constructed and repaired homes of the traditional elders; constructed ancestral lodges in the villages to be used as teaching centers for cultural revalidation; built fiberglass canoes for families as a means of saving trees and saving fuel. We have also attended to some orthodontic needs of the elders such as the obtaining of dentures.
1995-2000: Among the Secoya we published two bilingual education booklets on health and life (natural medicine and ethnobotany), as well as a cosmological wall calendar. We also developed cultural revival workshops connecting elders and youth on theme of cultural heritage revalidation.
1995: In the high Andes. We collaborated in the building of a community water tank that benefits over 50 families at a reforestation initiative we continue to support. The water tank was a direct benefit to the community in exchange for volunteering on the reforestation mingas(work sessions). This project, called “Dressing the Mountains in Green” is being over seen by Juan Patricio Pilco of the Agua Santa Puruwa Kechwa community in the outskirts of Riobamba, Ecuador.
1994: Participation and support of a Secoya peoples community initiative of ancestral land reclamation on the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border.
More information on these projects can be found here: