Friday, August 13, 2010

I just spent 10 days in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador. There, people gather fresh food daily. They go to the river early in the morning or late at night to catch fish with their bare hands - the traditional way. They dig yucca that has been grown with love, rituals and prayers, as yucca is their sacred food. It is used for daily nutrition, baby's milk and alcohol. In the jungle yucca is yet untouched by mass production and chemical additives.

Juan is a Shuar Uwishin natural doctor and spiritual leader. He learned from his parents and grandfathers and continues to teach his children to ensure the knowledge lives on. Juan gathers medicines from the jungle to treat cancer, lyme disease, broken bones and depression. The medicine is food for the body and the spirit. The entire jungle is sacred and he worries about the threat corporations bring to their culture and traditions when they reap benefits for monetary gain. The Shuar and other indigenous peoples of Ecuador are still very strong and they protest the invasion and destruction of the Amazon through mass demonstrations and road and airport closures. It is a struggle to maintain their sovereignty, but Juan is hopeful.

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