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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

What can we learn from Native Communities?

Hello Everyone !

Saludos desde Puerto Maldonado Department in Perú !

We just came from Boca Parimanu Community at the banks of the Piedras River, a river that feeds in to the Amazon. We spent 5 nights and 6 days immersed in the hot and humid Rainforest, along with the families and people of the Boca Pariamanu Community.

Our visit to the community was coordinated by Fauna Forever, a research center in the Peruvian Amazon. We had a great time getting to know the nature of the place, which is vast and wild. Part of our time in the community involved going to work harvesting brazil nuts, which is at this time of year the cash crop of this and other communities around and represents an important source of income for families.

We went to this village asking ourselves what we can learn from native communities. During our last dinner our student Victor asked: What we have learned from Boca Pariamanu community that we will take home with us? Some of the answer were:

I learned that patience is a great strength to have, the people of the community were so patience with us, even when they do not speak english they were there teaching us how to weave with a forest vine, over and over again without losing peace and patience.

I learned from them how important “Hard Work” is in order to hold a community. When they start some activity they finished it no matter what.

I learned that it is important to get to know your surroundings in terms of using things sustainably without damaging the nature and biodiversity around.  They know which palm to use to build a roof, what mushrooms from the forest are edible, which plants can cure a flu or fever and what vine to use to make a basket.

I learned how valuable a sense of community can be, in order to work together and be stronger.

I learned how important it is to keep sharing old histories with newer generations to preserve their cosmovision.

All these learning experiences were shared with us through long walks in silence through the rainforest, storytelling at night, working in the forest to harvest Brazil nuts, a natural basket making workshop, and by being in the community and sharing with the local people.

We cannot be more grateful to this community for opening their homes and sharing with us the most valuable and precious culture they have: their forest, their river, their food, their families and their happiness!

Gracias comunidad Amahuaca de Boca Pariamanu, Gracias Bosque, Gracias Rio Piedras, gracias Fauna Forever, Gracias Amazonas !

Tonight we are taking a night bus to the town of Ocongate. Tomorrow morning we will be back in the Andes of Peru to keep learning from native communities – this time with the Q’eros Nation people!

Un abrazo y hasta pronto !

Los Instructores

P.S. Here you will find a video of the community taken by one of the instructors.