Hello friends and family!
We have had a full last few days in the Amazon. Saturday morning we went on an artisanal fishing trip, looking out mostly for piranas and sardines. We went out in canoes and used long sticks to catch little fish, and then speared those little fish on the sticks and caught bigger fish. Leo caught the most fish (two!) And we also saw river dolphins!
In the afternoon we went to a medicinal plant garden to learn about traditional Shipibo healing practices. We saw a tree that has sap used to cure cancer. The shaman Manuel and his son Pablo, who is also a shaman, shared about their healing practices that have been passed down the generations.
On Sunday morning we had a giant goodbye ceremony with all of the families, in which they shared amongst each other in Shipibo what they learned from each of us and from the experience of hosting a student. Then each family hugged and kissed each of us goodbye. We really felt like this entire community was so excited to host us, and they made us promise we would return.
Then we returned to Yarinacocha in the city of Pucallpa, and in the afternoon we attended a Shipibo art workshop at Alianza Arkana. The workshop was put on by Kené Néte, a collective of young Shipiba women who make fashion clothing lines inspired by Shipibo art and traditional artisanal practices. The idea behind the collective is also to prevent and discourage artists and fashion designers from using Shipibo art without the Shipibo pueblo’s permission — cultural appropriation of Shipibo art and medicinal practices is widespread. These young women were the age of our students — 18 and 19 — and they taught us how to make natural dyes out of Tumeric, mud, and berries. And then we tried our hand at using the dyes ourselves!
We are headed back to Lima from the Amazon today, about to enter the very last portion of our course: transference. Transference is a time to remember and reflect on what we have experienced as a group the last almost three months, a time to practice sharing what we learned with friends and family back home, and a time to vision how we will continue to learn and grow once we are back in our own communities. And it is also a time to express gratitude to each other and to these two beautiful countries! We will be spending transference in an ecolodge in the mountains about two hours outside of Lima. We are looking forward to this time of reflection before the students all head home to the U.S. in just a few days.