Yawanawa – the Reunion

Yawanawa – the Reunion

Apr 10, 2022

So here I am back in Tarauacá, a tiny city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. I just came back from spending the first 2 weeks together with my spiritual family the Yawanawa Indians. As some of you might know, I met the Yawanawa Indians in a very special way through my dreams, and following those dreams, I found them in pure synchronicity.


Around a year ago I spent several months with them, being the first western person to enter the village. It was so special to spend that time with them, doing a dieta with their most sacred plant; Muca. My last posts describe our meeting and the time in dieta.

In that time we forged a strong bond, we build a house together, a temple and a kitchen. All in a pristine piece of jungle, a piece that was never used before; a piece of jungle that was very sacred. We cleared that piece of jungle, around 10 minutes walking from the village; Sete Estrellas, one of the 7 villages of the Yawanawa Indians. That place became our small center where I was learning the knowledge of the plants; Niipieia.
In the village there is a great master, Don Luis. A one armed medicine man that has a tremendous amount of knowledge about medicinal plants. He speaks to knowing around 5000 plants. There are very few people in the Amazon that carry such a vast amount of wisdom. Being one armed from a very young age and not being able to work as most children do in the jungle, he spent a lot of time with his father, a great medicine man… with 8 wives and around 60 children (meaning a very great medicine man!) In that time he was able to learn immense amounts from his father.
It was such a beautiful moment when he shared that he would teach me all he knows. He never taught anybody in his life before, and his dreams told him to start teaching me. The dieta with Muca was one of the first steps. It was a very special time that has gifted me a lot of growth, humbleness and gratitude.
At the same time the dieta was not always easy. When 2 completely different cultures meet, challenges can arise. And that happened during the time of the dieta. Resulting in me leaving the village earlier then I anticipated. Coming out of the dieta, I experienced that my absence had a lot of impact on many levels, which resulted in a couple of drastic changes in my life. Starting to see more clear that I had stepped in a dream of somebody else, not completely honoring my own intuition and guidance. Taking full responsibility for that, and making the decisions to change direction. I feel so much gratitude for that time, and all that it has thought me. Obrigado Mucá, Obrigado Yawanawá.

Feeling into that gratitude, I started to feel the call to deepen this strong bond that was forged between the tribe and myself. Last March I invited Edi, one of the sons of Luis, who also participated in the dieta to come to Peru to take part in of one of the retreats of Sananda-Wasi: the Soma Immersion. It was the first time a person of the village left the Amazon to go to another country, high in the mountains of the Andes in Peru. It was such a beautiful time together, both for Edi and for the people that participated in the retreat. It was a retreat with only men; a group of strong warriors.
During the time we spend together we talked quiet a bit about all that had happened, the strong bond that we share and what would be the next steps going forward. Edi shared he would love to see the village blossoming, sharing the beautiful culture of the Yawanawá with people that would visit the community. To make a long story much shorter, here I now am in Tarauacá picking up the first group of western people to enter the community and the village sharing with them the beautiful and sacred culture of the Yawanawa Indians

In the process of setting up this first Journey to the Yawanawa, I had a lot of trust. We found a way to communicate with each other. A friend of the tribe who lives in Rio Branco would send me a message over Facebook that somebody of the village would like to speak to me, and then I would call a number in Tarauacá to speak, mostly with Edi. Step by step we decided to grow, to clear some more jungle and to build additional houses to receive the group. Whenever something was finished, Edi would let me know and then he asked me: “can you send me a code?” Meaning if I could send some money by Western Union. Without seeing any of the things they were doing, in complete trust I always honored their work, and paid them good money. In that way we built 4 more houses in the last months, 3 “bathrooms” (meaning an open place next to a river where you can sit with a bucket to take a bath), 3 toilet houses and a larger kitchen.
In the meantime I was telling the stories of our time together last year, and people got interested to join me on this Journey to the Yawanawa. The first group of 8 people filled up pretty fast, so I opened up a second group. Trusting all that was unfolding, without knowing what was actually going to come out.
The weeks before making the 3 day journey from Peru to here I spend quiet some time organizing as many details as I could for this Jouney. Making sure everything was as organized as possible for this first group to come. Still… I hadn’t seen the houses, I hadn’t seen the piece of jungle that was cleared… all was happening in trust. Knowing that I would arrive 2 weeks in advance to move things around if necessary.
The trip to Rio Branco, 2,5 weeks ago was long. It took me around 24 hours in different busses and cars to get there. On the road I was taking care of last emails, messages and phone calls. In Rio Branco I spend some time with the Santo Daime and picked up some beautiful medicine to use for the groups coming. I also met Qwatsi there, one of the boys of the tribe which I connected with in a very deep way last time I was here. He was now living with his mother in Rio Branco. It was so beautiful to see him again, although we didn’t spend much time together.
I stayed in the “comfort hotel”, clearly reminding me I was leaving all comforts of the western world behind to go and stay with an indigenous tribe in the Amazon. That was the place where I met Jim and Julian. Jim is a dear friend that lives in California and has many years of experience in making documentaries with his company called “Sage MTN Films”. Julian is young and enthusiastic, living in São Paulo, and has a company called “Vidro Films”, making beautiful films with his camara and colleagues. We came together with the intention to make a beautiful piece of art, that will reflect the beauty of all things happening with the Yawanawa and the center that we are creating. I truly hope that a documentary will arise from this time we spend together.
They arrived in the middle of the night, we talked for some hours and in the morning we took a taxi to Tarauacá. The drive took about 8 hours over bumpy roads, through the spectacular scenery of the Amazon. On the way we stopped a few times to let the drone camera fly high into the sky, capturing the magnificence of the lungs of our planet, the pharmacy of our world. The few times we had cell phone reception I spoke to Edi, who was already waiting for us in Tarauacá for 3 days. In the morning I had some difficulties changing dollars into reais, so we had a bit of delay. He was worried if all was going well and at the same time I could feel his exitement of our arrival. Around 10 o clock in the evening we arrived and took rooms in a tiny and simple hotel in Tarauacá. A few minutes later Edi showed up with his wife and another woman of the village: Mullu. It was so beautiful to see them again… Shouts of joy, big hugs, and huge smiles on our face accompanied the food we had all together late into the evening. Love was pouring out of our hearts.
We slept after making plans for the next day, the day of our arrival in the village. Edi would pick us up with a big truck early in the morning, then quickly we would buy all the supplies for the next weeks and the groups coming in. With the truck we would go onwards to Sao Vicente, where we would take several boats to take us to the village. Leaving Sao Vicente around 1, arriving at the village around 5. Looked like a very good and tight plan.

At 6.30 in the morning Edi knocked on our doors to let us know he was there and the truck was waiting for us. They carried all luggage to the truck and off we went. The next hours were filled with shopping for a mountain of food and a bunch of other supplies: 50 kilos of rice, 50 kilos of pasta, 50 cans of beans, a huge box of eggs, coffee, sugar, plates, cups, cutlery, mattresses, hammocks, mosquito nets, 400 liter of mineral water, soap, 250 liters of gasoline for the boats, 200 liters of diesel for the generator of the village and much more we loaded on the big truck. We hurried, so we could leave early, get on the boat and arrive in the village before sunset.
Of course the shopping took its time, last messages with people in between. We left Tarauacá around noon, and arrived in the small harbor village Sao Vicente at 1.30pm. There we loaded everything on the boats, we had 1 boat for Jim, Julian, Edi and me and 3 extra boats for the luggage. Edi was sure we would make it before sunset to the village. I was pushing things forward already all the day to ensure our arrival that day in the village. Once we finally left with the boat, that we kept as light as we could to make it go faster I felt really happy… Finally we were on the way to the village!
Just one corner onwards the motor started to sputter… WHAT?!?!?
Something was wrong with it, the other boats had already left and were before us on the river. There we were; stranded on a small Amazonian river with a broken motor, raindrops starting to fall like pearls from the sky. I took a deep breath, and realized were I was and what I was doing. Remembering that this boat ride was there to wash away all the things that we call daily life: communication, stress, business, pressure, timing and much more. Slowly I started to surrender again, to surrender to the rhythm of the jungle, the rhythm of the Indians and the rhythm of peace.

It took time to repair the motor, and slowly it became clear that we wouldn’t make it to the village in time. Edi told me that he village was preparing a welcome for me, that everybody was awaiting my return with so much joy and love. That the people were already exited for weeks, that there would be good food and many surprises… But not today! We decided to stop at the first village of the Yawanawá; Matrichan. The village of Muca, the strong warrior that had joined the dieta last year. We got out of the boat around sunset there, and it was so nice to see some familiar faces. Big hugs followed, and soon we were sitting around drinking coffee with a lot of sugar and eating dried crackers; welcome back! The boys loaded all our stuff on the shore, covered it with plastic, all without communication. It all was already much more organized then last year… For Edi I had bought a nice watch as a present. I took it out of my bag and asked him if he wanted to receive his present now or the next day sitting with the village. He got super exited and wanted it right there and then. Unpacking it and seeing it was a beautiful black metal sport watch he was jumping in the sky and shouting of joy. He gave me a hug that almost cracked some of my ribs, haha!! He was so happy, telling me that it might be a small gift for somebody from the western world, but for and Indian it is something very big. He was so happy!! The sun had set completely, we went outside and sat on a fallen tree overlooking the river, the stars shining above us. There we had our first good conversation. We talked about many things that had happened last year, we took our time to speak, and to listen, and there I get again the love I have for those beautiful, strong and simple people. Jim reminded me later of a quote of Thit Nat Han: “Simple life, high thinking.” Rapé was shared, I took out the guitar, I was back… It was such a beautiful night; back in the Amazon, after a busy period, no cell phone reception, no internet, no emails, no things to take care of, just sitting there watching the stars, listening to the sound of the river, the birds, the insects and soaking it all up.
Edi shared a bit about what a change it had been for the village since I had come in last year. He shared how all the work had helped all the families, how much joy it had brought to build the houses, how grateful people felt for the big gift. Something that they had never dreamed of, somebody to come to their tiny village, to grow together for a cause that was much bigger then they could have ever seen happening. He shared that many people had worked very hard over the last weeks to get everything ready for the arrival of the first group. Many words of thanks, big hugs and shouts of joy were exchanged the first night being back on indigenious land. It felt so good to be back… My heart was singing.
We slept in a house, in the living room on the floor, in the morning there was a simple breakfasts of coffee and crackers, and after some more conversations, we loaded everything on the boats and went further on our journeys to Sete Estrellas and the new center that was growing there.
Sitting again on the boat on the river, I felt into the situation; I felt excitement, gratitude, some feeling of anxiety for the houses and if everything was well build, ready to receive a group of westerners, if they were ready to receive a group in sense of all other things needed; cooking, organization and many more things. How would it be to see Luis again? Louisa? All the children? I felt some nervousness coming in, and decided to surrender to all that I was feeling… There was no way back.
The ride took around 3 hours and we arrived at the village around noon. We would stop at the small harbor we created close to the center.
10 minutes before the village we made a last stop, got out of the boats. I felt so much at that moment, so much gratitude. To be so close again to my house, to my spiritual family, those beautiful children, to be back in the piece of forest that I knew so well…
And there we left for the last stretch…

Getting close to the village I could see from far that every single person of the village was standing on the shore… Woman, man and children. They were all waiting our arrival… Seeing them stand there on the shore, I felt so many emotions, so much love, so much gratitude… Tears were coming out of my eyes. 67 people, 10 families were standing there. Getting closer and closer I could distinguish more and more faces, all standing there, straight and silent. Almost there I put my right fist into the air: strong warriors!!! A sign we had used many times last year. Seeing that sign, they started to shout and wave.
 
I jumped out of the boat onto the shore, and what followed were many hugs, kisses, laughs… To give Luis and Louisa big hugs felt so beautiful… So much gratitude for both of them. The children grabbed our bags, and we walked slowly to the center. 
The first thing I saw was a toilet house on my right side. A toilet house??? Wow!! Then I saw the kitchen. It looked so beautiful, bananas were hanging everywhere, there was even a table with 2 benches. The floor of the jungle was super clean, there was not a single leaf laying on the floor. Wow that is a lot of work in the jungle….
 
Then the temple. The design of the roof took me back to some deep journeys in the hammock last year. Everyone was around, so many beautiful faces, smiles, hugs. My first house in the jungle, bringing back lots of memories to.
We walked on towards the new houses. To a part of the jungle that had not been opened up before. Now it was looking so open and clear. Again… Lots of very hard and precise work I could see. There was the 2nd house. It looked so beautiful. With so many details. Made of the bark of the paushube tree. Oh wow!!! There was the 3rd house, and the 4th!!
 
This was not what I had dreamed of, it was much more beautiful then my expectations.
 
Then there was the 5th house… On the place where I had put my hammock many times last year. To be in solitude and silence, with a beautiful creek close by to take a shower. The house was not made of paushube, as a simple traditional house… The house was made of wooden planks, cut with a chainsaw from a tree they call Taube. The house looked big, spacious with a nice porch in front to put a few hammocks… The roof was made of paia, but not just put on top of the house. Every plant was hand woven into the other. Something that takes a lot of time and patience. Seeing all that we came together on the porch of my new house, or at least it felt like that…
 
Standing there like a big family, Edi started to speak so many beautiful words. I felt so many emotions, tears were rolling over my face. Tears of happiness, tears of gratitude, tears of joy. I had to take deep breaths not to be taken over by my emotions… what a beautiful moment that was…
 
One of the things Edi said, was that my arrival into the community had been like a sun rising. A bright light shining over the community. A light that had shown them a path, a path of which they had never dreamed it was possible for such a tiny community like them to come across. And seeing that sun rising, they felt the truth of what was happening, and they decided that they would walk the path, all together. And like a path in the jungle, at first there are many plants and trees in the way, many with spines and Dorns. But with hard work, you can clean that path, so it becomes open and wide, so that everybody can find it easily, without getting lost.
 
And they were there, ready to work together, to receive the groups coming in, to welcome all the people with all their love, all their joy and to share with them their traditions, their plants, their songs, their stories, their life. 
I hardly could find words to respond… the emotions were too strong. 
One thing I felt so strongly…

 
 
Home again…

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