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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

A Learning Expirience

I leave the jungle tired. The steady strickle of sweat down my face now an old friend. The various chirps and squacks of the many winged creatures taking refuge among the overgrown and intertwining trees, many of which surpass us in age and in wisdom. We tread through the community nicknamed Boca; past the community center, the school and sports fields. Past the medicinal plant garden and its many hidden cures and back down the stairs to the long covered boat that dropped us here six days ago. I reflect on those days and all that I was taught.

The proper way to release a bird after marking down its measurements, the proper way to roast a cocoa nut, the most humane way to end a chicken´s life and subsequently which parts we eat and how to make sure nothing is wasted. I learned how to catch a fish and I had to learn that while our fear of mercury prevents us from enjoying the pescado, the community members have been eating it their whole lives. I learned that a banana tree only grows one racimo before dying and that eating bananas shipped from half a world away has nothing on a freshly picked banana. I learned that community sport games start at four and end at nightfall and there is always a spot for an outsider. I learned that granadilla and papaya is synonymous with dessert and that lays will never be able to complete with some fried plantain chips. I learned that there is room in this world full of instant noodles and imported meats for a community like Boca. I learned that when you take from Pachamama and do not replenish her resources and replant her trees you are left a world with a dwindling rainforest.You are left a society where a pebble of gold is worth poisoning rivers, and a nice mahogany table is worth cutting down a century of growth. I learned from living amongst people who live in harmony with the earth. People who plant their seeds with care and are bombarded by the pressure of a world that does not share their reverance for Pachamama.

I learned a lot from my time in la selva, and I have so much more to learn as I head off to the jungle.