Recently, we’ve started constructing our kitchen as well as started putting in the floors of our tambos. It’s a great experience building something as massive as a retreat center in the Amazonian jungle. Even though the center is quite small (a maloka, a kitchen a toilet/shower building and five tambos), it’s an enormous challenge. There are many activities that depend on one another, machines need maintenance, equipment needs replacing and general fatigue. Our guys are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever seen. Clearing space or roofing the buildings in the scorching sun, lifting blocks of wood weighing I believe up to 100kgs each. Truly impressive, something I could and have definitely learned from. One thing I had to let go, on many levels I might add, is to want to bring order to the process. Sometimes, when you’re lucky, it can happen, but usually it’s just too chaotic. Just chill, laugh about it and move on. In my previous post I’ve written that the center should be ready in three weeks. That’s how I look at it now, and have looked at it every week. So, three weeks!
On another note, I’ve been here for about a year now and have learned a thing or two about the dynamics between westerners that come here and the shipibos. Many shipibo feel that foreigners come here to get their problems resolved and then leaving again, leaving the shipibos in the same state without anything in return. There are curanderos that have chosen to build their own centers and to work exclusively with foreigners, depriving the local community of its healer. Furthermore, like in western society, healthcare costs money, both the ancestral type as well as the western type. As this affects us as well, we have discussed this and have decided that members of the community can participate in our ceremonies and use our facilities for free. This means a mixed group of pasajeros from other countries as well as member from the local community.
We reasoned this is a small, but practical way to give back to the community on which we depend.