Been called to the Amazon, again
When I came back from the amazon last year, having spent one month with the Kaxinawa tribe at their home, far deep in the amazon, I couldn't believe that after only one year I will find myself going back in the village. I’ve got to admit, as much as it is beautiful and profound, it ain't easy. The long journey, the variety of insects, the intense ceremonies…
So here is my story, why I thought I wouldn't come back, and why I’m after all going tomorrow again..
Just the journey into the village took me almost 10 full days. 2 days flight to Brazil, another flight to Rio Branco Acre, the northwestern state of Brazil, from there another "small" drive of 400km, 10 hours on a bus to the beginning of the river, and from there, long 5 days journey in small motor boat, in the Amazonian river, sunrise to sunset. During all that month, I was sleeping outdoors with my hammock as my bed. I have to say though, once you get use to it, it's the best bed in the world. Quickly I realized that before I can start to learn about the different cultures and meet the local tribe, I had to learn about the other residents of the forest, thousand kinds of sand flies, mosquitos and insects, which are very curious about the new blood that arrived in the forest, fresh from the boat.. Yummy... Once the mosquito repellent stopped working, I moved to a different technique: make peace with the insects. I tried to send them a message of love and harmony and tell them we are all one, and let's not drink each other’s blood… Well, I tried, and after the prayers, the oils, the long cloth and the mosquito net, we finally managed to achieve a kind of harmony with each other.
I remember from my Zen studied, that the hardest part is always to bring yourself to start the journey. Once you have started, you will be able to deal with all the difficulties. Don't give up! The reason for the journey is yet to reveal itself! I went over that mantra in my head over and over. Once I accept the difficulties as part of what I’m doing, the magic start to reveal itself from all directions. The farther you go in the Amazon forest, the farther away you get from the civilization and whatever comes with it. No more phones, Internet, computers, electricity, as well as all the comfort that I’ve been taking for granted. I actually enjoyed that part a lot. And the biggest gift, of course, is the perfect clean air, the silence, the only sound being that of the birds and the insects, and the lush green everywhere you look.
After two days with the boat we arrive at my real personal destination, the Huni Kuin land, the land of the Kaxinawa. And there, in the first village, I met the first indigenous people and knew that that was what I was looking for. One look in the eyes of the kids and I've been taken. I knew I wanted to stay in this land and learn whatever I can from these people, and share with them whatever I know.
During my time in the village, I met the grownups, the kids, the men and women, and all without exception were very welcoming and friendly and open, and they have willingly taken me in. I was their guest during the Eskawata kaya wey (transformation) festival, which is an annual gathering of the tribe, hosting people from different villages of the Kaxinawa. All the villages are situated along the river, but some are as far as 10 days by boat. During the 15 days of the festival, the families are united and get the chance to meet and celebrate and pray together. At night, the ceremonies take place, led by the the pajer-shamans of the different villages. This is where the people of the tribe perform their praying and their offering to
For the ceremonies, the tribe uses a specific brew –Ayahuasca the Spirit, and this is where they can receive spiritual and physical healing.
As guests in the village we, the foreigners, were treated as part of the tribe, and were invited to participate in all the ceremonies. Almost every night, with the help of the medicine, the people and the special chants and music, I would go in my mind deep into the forest, and become one with all living creatures. In a timeless zone, I could be in the past, the present or the future. I could zoom in to the core of my being, to the Grand Spirit, and I could be in peace. Of course I had my share of dark spaces and strong physical and mental cleaning; I could see things that had been hidden from me, and I was able to deal with them as hard as it might be. The Kaxinawa allow us to enter a sacred space and help us, with their presence and with their medicines, to stay there. During the ceremonies, the reason for my traveling and for my searching was gradually becoming clear to me. It was also becoming clear why the Kaxinawa want to share their knowledge with the world, and why I am creating these photos. The Amazon is calling, let’s reconnect with Nature, it's all in us, just having been forgotten sometimes...
During the days, the traditional activities for the kids from all the villages take place, and this is where the elders pass on the culture to the kids, and teach them the different dances, songs, stories and history of the tribes. In the festival, a small number of foreigners are invited to participate and learn the Huni Kuin traditional culture, and be part of the medicine circles. For many of the kids, and some of the elders, it is the first time to meet a person not from the tribe, and a first chance to have a glimpse of the outside world. To see kids grow in the jungle without mental and physical pollution, traffic, Internet, and without TV, money, computers etc., is definitely a mind-blowing experience, and made me think, if i will be a father one of this days, how would i like to raise my kid, and how would I balance between the worlds.
The year since my last visit has passed quite quickly. I showed some of my photos at different places in the world where I was travelling, as well as in the social media, and received great comments from people who were touched by the photos or by their contents. I have received a lot of questions and email messages from people who wanted to know more about the tribes, the message, and ways to get involved. So I decided to create this website, which will allow me to share the photos, along with information, stories and music from friends with similar fields of interest, from all around the world.
I wasn’t planning to come back so fast, but when the call was coming so strong, I knew that there I had no other choice, and that is was beyond any physical discomfort.
Now I can't wait to be back and meet these beautiful people, my Amazonian family, see the kids that are one year older, and once again pray, dance and sing with all of them. I'm bringing with me 200 prints of photos I took last year, of all the kids and the Huni Kuin people. Some of these photos have already been seen by thousands online, and now the Amazonian people can see and have them as well.
So this is my first blog post. Thanks for your patience, your reading, and for allowing me to share my stories and photos. I will continue to develop and improve as I go, and to share and update. I’m calling for friends who want to share their stories, links for medicinal work, music, information about upcoming events, and any kind of creativity to write me and use this channel.
I’ve got to catch the flight now, the journey begin once more...