Thursday, April 2, 2015

Moyobamba, Kambo and Parvo, 3 words that might not have ever shared the same title before

Hello from Peru! 

Though I don't write all that often, I certainly ponder many things to write about in regards to my next blog. It always boils down to the same ingredient; documenting my experiences as I perceive them with no intention past that. My internal workings far exceed anything going on outside of myself and have no doubt that a day spent in solitude would garner just as much (if not more) content than any blog I have written. 

Three things of note stand out since my last blog and while one of them I won't extract much joy from writing about, it is the freshest in my mind. Whenever asked "Would you like the good news or bad news first?" I have always leaned towards the bad first in the hopes of it being overshadowed by the good news to come. I am reminded of programming like 'don't eat your dessert until you've had your supper' and song's with lyrics like "You went and saved the best for last". So in that spirit I will share the bad news first, even though it is not chronological in occurrence.

Truly I have never known anything about this life threatening canine virus until about four days ago. Both of the house puppies fell ill and couldn't hold down food. The usually well-fed dogs could be seen to be losing weight quickly so that their hips started protruding and I could see every rib. Things went downhill VERY fast and when both of the puppies started having stools with blood, it was time for a trip to the vet. The vet in Tarapoto, Peru is not the same as back home- there is no x-ray machine or ultrasound to check the inner workings for obstructions -and so you are left wondering what they can provide past treatment based on the physical symptoms they were displaying. The pups were provided a saline drip for dehydration some antibiotics that we were slightly wary of because of a past bad experience. Thankfully we have Skype speed-dial access to a vet-turned holistic MD named Dr. Darko who guided us to begin a regiment that also relied heavily on re-hydration and the use of Colloidal Silver. 

I had heard of Colloidal Silver before, but my experience with it was purely research-based. It seemed, for every bit of research I did that yielded positive results, there would be another article scaring the crap out of me. I filed it under "Too Scared to Try"... until I arrived in this house where our housemate Dave Stewart not only swears by it (and drinks it often) but also shares it with the locals when they come to him with various maladies. Research was quickly collected and it became obvious that the dogs were suffering from Parvovirus, A disease that kills 80% of the veterinary cases documented. We collected the dogs from the vet and purchased a kit to administer IV fluids. We took shifts staying up 24 hours, administering fluids via intravenous, oral and rectal syringe. This virus is scary to see in action.

Severe diarrhea and nausea are the initial result, but eventually the villi and microvilli become so damaged that they begin to break down, and the bacteria that are normally confined to the GI tract embark on a deadly journey out of the intestine and into the bloodstream. This is the cause of both significant blood loss through diarrhea and widespread infection inside the body. To make matters worse, the body’s immune system is not quite up to par, as its ability to produce new white blood cells to combat infection has been hampered by the invasion of CPV into the bone marrow. CPV is not always fatal, but when it does kill, death is as a result of either extreme dehydration and shock, or of septic toxins produced by the intestinal bacteria roaming throughout the bloodstream.

Some of the bowels movements I saw looked like the onscreen set of a horror movie and it was hard to imagine they could ever recover. Each of my housemates (6 of us in total) were handling this environment in their own way from trying anything new they could think of, to the other end of the spectrum, removing themselves to another part of the house to stay out of the way. I personally decided to be present for the experience because I could see how I might be useful if only to administer fluids during my shift (and provide some comfort with some softly spoken words of encouragement and a pat). When things looked to be there bleakest, I found myself speaking to one of the dogs and giving him advice to hold on. I looked into his dark, barely coherent eyes and saw myself staring back in a way that could only be described as "Why should I?".

This happens ever-increasingly in my world; that I could be handing out advice and the realization occurs that I am the best one to be taking that advice. In this case, I was asking this little puppy to continue with life but when confronted with the WHY of it, I was momentarily stumped. I forced myself to answer that question on the spot and came up with this:

 "Because in your best moments you have a playful spirit that reaches out and effects all of us." 

So very simple and true for both of us... maybe all of us. I don't know how the puppies will fair going forward from here, today they seem to be recovering though and we're all very grateful for that. Nobody has had much sleep these last few days and sometimes silly arguments ensue, but there has also been an awful lot of healing going on and I'm glad I decided to participate.

Kambo and Ayahuasca

Last week, I took a solo trip out to San Roque to experience another Ayahuasca ceremony and also Kambo...

There is a Kaxinawá legend that tells that the Indians of the village were very ill and the Shaman Kampu had done everything that was possible to cure them. All medicinal herbs known were used, but none helped his people’s agony. Kampu then entered the forest and under the effect of Ayahuasca, received the visit of the great God. He brought in His hands a frog, from which He took a white secretion, and taught how to apply. Returning to the tribe and following the guidelines that he had received the Shaman Kampu was able to cure his brothers Indians. After his death, the spirit of Kampu has started living in the frog and the Indians began to use its secretion to stay active and healthy.

I was met by my friend Antonio in San Roque  (I am quite proud of myself for not only getting to the bus station on my own, but also figuring which vehicle to take to get there), after which we stopped at his house quickly to grab supplies (some fruit for breakfast and 10 liters of water for the ceremonies). After a nice ten minute hike through the jungle we arrived at his tambo which was nicely prepared with comfy mats, pillows and a blanket. Antonio turned out to be quite a musician and during our Ayahuasca ceremony, he provided many different forms of musical backdrop in the form of acoustic guitar, drums and something similar to a harmonica but is put in your mouth and plucked instead, resulting in almost froggy sounds. 

We drank and he began singing his icaros 

It was not enough to illicit any real experience so I requested a second drink, trying my best to do it in Spanish to show respect. I believe my translation would have been "please (por favor) drink (bebemos) more (mas) Ayahuasca?". I swallowed a second cup and waited... sometime after that I remember feeling an anger build up, while anger isn't an emotion I connect with well consciously. That means, that while I know I experience things that possibly anger me, I do not really connect with it usually repressing it or as I found out that night, "stuff it away".

Because I am now becoming more aware that it exists, I used this opportunity to explore it in a safe environment and noticed how my heart rate increased with the violent imagery. I allowed myself to embrace all of it, like some blood crazed animal and I couldn't help but also notice how powerful it felt. The command came from somewhere inside for me to put it all into my stomach, I was encouraged to take all of it and just put it there. I saw images like a giant warehouse stuffed full with junk, no order whatsoever, just piles of rusting junk and the encouragement continued... "put it here!". There was something more in the tone of the command as if it knew this was not the best place for this stuff but it mocked me to do what I have always done with it.

This particular experience did not achieve a conclusion and so since having that experience, I still kick it around in wonderment as to how it will conclude (in time). I talked with Antonio into the night about not only that night, but other things that sometimes come up for me. He said something that stuck with me "Ayahuasca is what you are". It is not my desire to understand the inner-workings of this Shamanic brew but from my experience (so far with 14+ ceremonies), what he says rings true- in that two people can drink the brew and have completely different but personal experiences (one has a profound vision while the other person has little to no effects).

"If you have a golf-ball-sized consciousness, when you read a book, you'll have a golf-ball-sized understanding; when you look out a window, a golf-ball-sized awareness, when you wake up in the morning, a golf-ball-sized wakefulness; and as you go about your day, a golf-ball-sized inner happiness.

But if you can expand that consciousness, make it grow, then when you read about that book, you'll have more understanding; when you look out, more awareness; when you wake up, more wakefulness; as you go about your day, more inner happiness."
David Lynch

I awoke to find Antonio was already preparing for my Kambo session, I saw the 10 litres of water sitting there and wondered how much of it he expected me to drink. He had explained to me before that Kambo worked with water to flush out my liver and lymphatic system and that I was to drink as much of it as possible- it was time to do just that! I grabbed my glass and in usual Trevor King fashion, I chugged down five glasses immediately...

 I realized if things were going to continue I would have to take it down a notch 

The next few glasses were done in gulps and the next few in sips. That jug became my nemesis; I pleaded with it to empty faster and with my stomach to allow more in. I remember the last two glasses vividly because I was more interested in emptying the glass so I could simply fill the last glass to make it appear as though I had finished 5 of the 10 litres. I was surprised to find out that the water quickly reduced my body temperature, I was actually shivering by the end. I wrapped the blanket around myself, leaving just my arm exposed for the burning. Kambo is administered through tiny burn marks in the skin (usually done on the arm, leg or chest). I chose my arm because it seemed less intrusive and I imagined it like getting a tattoo. I had five marks made and though I tried my best to "man-up", I was asked to stop squirming so much. 

The frog secretion was felt right away when he smeared it onto my wounds. Immediately after, I felt some swelling in my face especially around my lymph-nodes. Next came the nausea and within five minutes I had emptied about half of the water I drank into a bucket. Antonio administered 2 more dots worth after his first application and more vomiting ensued. I cannot say it was an uplifting experience (as it involved so much vomiting and nausea) but I did experience a deep purging and I saw things come up that I don't even remember eating! To note also, near the end when it was bile, it was a strange green colour. Over the course of the next few days I did not notice any dramatic shifts but I came here to experience this medicine, so will take it again for good measure when I have completed my dieta.


I finish this blog today speaking about something that truly made my heart sing: waking up inside of a cloud just outside the city of Moyobamba.

While here, I have met some REALLY amazing people and two of these people are Manuel and his wife Julie. They were attending the Ayahuasca ceremony at Katari a few weeks ago and I couldn't stop looking at him. The locals here are usually shorter in stature with a slight build. This man was uncharacteristically taller and HUGE! Like shredded with muscles huge, and somehow you know it has nothing with a gym and certainly NO steroids. Adding to his size is a tattoo planted squarely between his eyes of an infinity sign and a triangular symbol that begged to me to know more about this man. Our housemate Danielle (who is an excellent Spanish translator) introduced us and I am so glad she did. 

There is a community of people in Peru who desire a stronger connection with the earth and also with each other. This community has no real home currently, it's simply a collection scattered around with some actively looking to connect, others letting it happen naturally- but it's here! My housemates are looking to start a terra-firma community and also to find a place to host this years Raices de la Tierra festival. It just so happens that this couple owns 50 Hectares (124 Acres) of some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen. After a few house meetings (where we showed him some of the projects we were working on) he invited us out to have a look at their property. We hopped in the back of a truck and drove about 3 hours to Moyobamba- what appears to be (with just a cursory glance) a better version of Tarapoto! Cleaner streets with garbage cans, joggers, hot springs close by, and with better quality fruit and veggies (and considerably cheaper food).

Their land is about ten minutes from town and was our next destination, We arrived to find five interconnected huts in the shape of a southern cross, 3 hectares of pineapples growing and an onsite waterfall! The land is rolling hills and set between 3 mountains with the house set up on one of the higher hills in the middle (which was annoying to walk up even with his make shift stairs),but a sheer joy to be at the top of. 

We spent the night there and I was awoken by Christina at 6:00am for me to look outside- we were high enough to literally be inside a cloud! I spent about an hour before actually getting up that morning to meditate (usually when I meditate I close my eyes and allow thoughts to come in and move away- like clouds), mostly keeping my eyes open taking in the breathtaking beauty. It turns out that Manuel doesn't get out to this property very often, and was planning on selling it but after meeting and talking with us, decided to offer it up as a place to be used for the festival and also as a home base for our conscious community (should my housemates decide that works for them)!

This week, we have agreed to six days of dieting with a special plant called Sananga. Meals will be prepared by Julie over an open fire and won't contain any sugar (fruit included) or meat. These 6 days will be spent mostly in solitude with no talking or touching, just experiencing yourself eating cleanly, meditating and getting to know this plant Sananga. I will cover this in detail in my next blog.

In closing, I would like to say my beliefs around what is and isn't possible are becoming blurred in this part of the world. For now I'm content to observe others manifest their desires into form while taking note. Yo Soy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cerelias Project and Shifts in Conciousness

 Update #5

Quick update and shout out: 
Wallet = gone. It happened, I'm over it, I still have my passport! I will be more diligent when wearing shorts with tiny pockets and riding in bumpy moto-taxis from now on. 
Thank you Thank you Thank you to my mother who email transferred me some cash and took the sting out of the loss.

I promised monkeys and I came to deliver! 

Cerelias is an animal rescue reserve run by one amazing man named Orlando 8 km into the dense jungle, on the side of a mountain (that requires crossing the same river 14 times to get to). Referencing my previous experiences with rivers back home, I was imagining something mild (where the streams came up to my ankles) and maybe that some of the 14 crossings were just trickles. I put on my rubber boots and some knee high socks (which I stuffed my pant legs into for good measure) and thought to myself "no 
bugs, no water". 
The very first river crossing came up to our hips! Never mind that we were carrying a couple days worth of supplies and also some fairly heavy tools for the creation of the dry toilet that was to be installed. This 3 hour (mostly uphill) trip, was the single greatest hike I had ever encountered. What kept me going was that Christina (who sometimes cries about a ten min walk) and Dave (a 55 year old carrying an immense pack full of tools) were not complaining one bit.

 I actually switched backpacks with Dave for the last half of the trip, not because he wanted me to, but because his companion Rebeca kept looking at me- then his backpack- and giving me "the look" (like "TAKE IT!"). I offered three times before he finally took a much needed break where I absconded it. 

For those that don't know me, I will share one of my traits: to find a personal lesson in just about everything I do. I had engorged myself on just about every survival and adventure show I could get my hands on over the years and one thing I heard over and over was PACK LIGHT! I stuffed my pack with just the basics and thought about how much easier I would have it. When I ended up with one of the heaviest packs, I at first reeled against the injustice of it all! 

Then was reminded of another lesson that continues to pop up in my life over and over: "choose a challenge or challenge will choose you". Life is a roller coaster with ups and downs and twists and turns. The only thing I have any control over is how I feel about it, so I reminded myself of these facts and stepped up to the plate. When we finally arrived at Cerelias, it was like a piece of heaven- a medium sized hut completely covered in netting and monkeys EVERYWHERE! 

We were told there was going to be monkeys but I had no idea they congregated and lived on site. I was greeted immediately by a Capuchin named Francisco (rescued from a circus) who jumped on my shoulders and started picking through my hair in some kind of grooming ritual that was actually quite peaceful and surprisingly delicate. 

Our plan was to arrive, rest and then get some nice headway into the creation of this 2 story dry toilet on the first day. We began digging a 5 foot wide, 6 foot deep hole for the 1100 liter tank that would serve as a "biodigester" and four smaller holes for the wooden bathroom structure that was to be put up. Lunch (and dinner) was a hodge-podge stew of rice, beans, vegetables and spices- I noticed how much better food tasted when exhausted. The netting prevented the larger monkeys from entering the hut but tiny Tamarins were allowed in to check us out and eat. These tiny monkeys could be distinguished between male and female because the males had elaborate white mustaches :) 
Sleeping arrangements were tight because there were 9 of us, while we had a tent to shield us from monkey droppings there was nothing really under us to shield us from the hard ground. When I got up in the morning I felt like a cranky old man and I wondered how much actual sleep was had (between the hard ground and the monkey chatter). The monkeys were very happy to see us again and everybody engaged in some playful monkey business, hanging off of our arms and jumping on shoulders. 
Dig duty again and not one person was exempt from having monkeys randomly jump on their backs while working. It wasn't uncommon to shovel twice, have a monkey jump on your head, move the monkey out of the pit, shovel twice, have a monkey jump on your back, and so on it went. Tools that were put down were quickly scooped up by curious monkeys and then bartered/coaxed back with bits of banana. 

I had an insight that these monkeys were the physical manifestation of the monkeys I carry on my own back from time to time 
 I realized that instead of being annoyed by them (as I often am), I could choose to see them as playful and good-natured.  I also learned that healthy monkeys eat much more than just fruit like grubs and worms, frog eggs, termites and ants. We were informed that  inspectors had been by recently, this particular reserve was the only place where the monkeys didn't have parasites. Caged primates are mostly fed fruit but without the other pieces to their diet  they get parasites. 

I wish I could tell you we finished our project on that trip but we didn't, the design and structure were flawless but we didn't account for one important obstacle... MONKEYS! These curious animals stress test everything- plastic pipes get yanked on and broken, metal sheeting walls get pulled to their limit and come unattached- another trip is planned back out to install metal pipes and the whole structure must be covered in netting the same as the hut. The military and university students here have actually been a great help on this project and will do all the transporting of the materials (they have made over 80 trips in and out of this area so far). My adventures are always personal, there is no such thing as fail and I look forward to having those monkeys on my back again.

Dani with a 9 month old spider monkey

Ayahuasca Ceremony at Katari 

We did not bring a camera on this trip as Ayahuasca is done when it's dark and we do not own a camera that takes pictures of inner consciousness shifts. I hope to be as descriptive as possible (facsimile photos added) knowing that even trying to translate what happened into words does not even come close to the experience I had.

(representation of experience, not actual photo)
After the first ceremony here being so lackluster I didn't bring any expectations to this one. Though
I did take note that on the taxi ride over and the subsequent walk into the jungle, we saw (by far) the most beautiful scenery I have taken in, all highlighted by a double rainbow taking up most of the sky. Christina shared with me later that she had shed a few tears at how breathtaking it all was. When we arrived at Katari, we were pleased to see that our accommodations for the night were top notch with thick heavy cushions, long enough to lay full out on (16 in total in an open style hut), with light blankets laid at the foot and a pillow!  We were greeted by a very pregnant mother cat and her previous kitten who were happy to receive head rubs. I saw my first "chicken tree", which was a large tree free of foliage but holding no less than 25 chickens in it's branches.

 As dusk came on, others started to arrive and I got the sense that we were among some advanced psychonauts. I exchanged information with a gentleman who will be assisting me in another part of my journey which will be to experience Kambo (frog poison) and he made the comment that for him Kambo was the most powerful healing medicine he has experienced. When the Shaman arrived it was quite dark and everybody had made their way to the moloka, some of us laying full out on our cushions (many others in a half lotus meditating) setting intentions
for their experience.

I set my intention to have an experience that showed me more about myself and I included that I was also open to surprises. Across from us, our housemates Tom and Dani were putting away their pipe from which that had just administered Rapé (a healing tobacco blend taken up into the sinuses through each nostril).

The shaman greeted everyone warmly 

While my last experience with a shaman had jaded me slightly (he didn't drink with us and his small grand-son sat beside me playing with his phone most of the ceremony) I could at least say that this man seemed to know many of the advanced clients present. He brought instruments with him including a guitar, ukelele, various drums and shakers. When he unpacked the rest, I noticed that his Ayauscha brew was some of the muddiest I had ever seen.
I have to admit that at this point, while I came with no expectations that my "spidey senses" were telling me everything was perfect for "something". After a quick Rapé ceremony with the shaman (people received it through what looked like the horn of an elk) we started to come up one by one in an orderly fashion to receive our cup of Ayahuasca. It was the least amount I have drank to date, like doing a shot, which I greatly appreciated because even thinking about the taste is cause to gag.  We went back to our mats and began the waiting process...

The brew came on slow and I wondered at one point if I was going to have an experience at all.

I have done what is called a "heroic dose" in the past, where my mind and all its thoughts were whisked away to be left with silence with only me and Aya left, this was not like that. I still had my thoughts as I began to pick up on something happening- a mild change to the motif of the room- a descending of fractals that started from the roof and moved down the way a laser light show sometimes does a room scan effect from top to bottom. With eyes wide open, I watched as it happened and I felt the pull for me to close my eyes and I succumbed to it. 

Visuals of jungle neon on a black background that seemed to breathe with life, my mind still intact, I let my thoughts wander and as they did the scene took on new flavor directly correlating to the essence of those thoughts. I allowed myself to think about death (visuals of maggots and jungle decay became the feature), I viewed it as though an observer watching a film, knowing that I am not these thoughts I am having and so am untouched by the scene in front of me. My communication with the female plant entity was peripheral, I could not see or talk directly to her but at the same time I was aware that we were in contact and were sharing this experience together. 

I was aware that healing was being done on my body

I felt little tingles in the spots that were being worked on and I got the sense that while I have had major work done in past ceremonies that this was more of a tune-up. I am not a good judge of time in this state and I don't recall at this moment all the things that were gone over, but I do remember that at some point I seemed to lose connection in the natural way that happens, when Aya loses it's powerful hold and you slip back to 3D reality. I remember thinking that it was all a bit to quick and that I would request another drink when the time came. 

The shaman was singing during parts of this experience but it was all background noise to me. My journey was done and my eyes were open. I was waiting patiently for another drink (I appreciated what had gone on so far: a fairly medium to mild experience with a medium to mild satisfaction), our friend (and a shaman assistant) Boris came over and asked me how I was doing, I responded "fine" and at this point I felt as coherent as I do now writing this blog. 

The shaman and Aya were not done with me this night and it was the most surprising thing I have ever experienced...

I lay there trying to get into the music that was being played because I didn't know how long it would be until a 2nd cup was offered. One song, then another (wondering how many more it would be), when a woman started singing hallelujah. It was strange to hear a female start singing and there was only 1 word to the song- hallelujah- broken up into pieces and drawn out, sometimes a note would seem strangely high or there would a long pause where you thought the next part should go. I was laid out flat at this point hands to my side when all of a sudden I felt "something" happening and this time I could not control it with thoughts or analyze it. It was coming and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. 

I started hearing other sounds from 360 degrees around me- clicks, snaps of twigs, momentary shakes of rattles and the womans voice was hitting notes that would be closer to the blue opera singer in the 5th Element movie. That's about the time I lost all feeling in my face, no that's not correct... it started off with a feeling in my lips like I had pursed my lips tightly together and created some tension/tingle in them. That tingle spread over my face and I lost the ability to feel my skin or air passing over my skin. None of this was concerning to me, in fact, the most common words I had all night were WTF! I had literally gone from normal to 100% locked into this within seconds and was now experiencing what I thought was impossible. 

As I lay there, new songs would begin and I got the sense that each song was a different healing modality, because the energy would be completely different during each one. I had the feeling I was supposed to move and as happens with communication sometimes, your first try is not correct. I thought Aya was telling me to get up and dance but I felt locked into this lay down position (besides the fact that I wouldn't really be comfortable with doing that). I thought it was a stalemate until I decided to move my head to the rhythm and what happened instead was I started vibrating. The closest thing I can compare it to is when you get the shivers but it doesn't stop and I could turn it on or off at my discretion.

I laid there like a plucked guitar string 

I was reminded that everything is vibration and while this not unknown to me, the experience of being vibration in this way added deeply to my knowing. Whether you know it or not this is happening to all of us all the time in our words, in our thoughts, in our actions.  I had many experiences that night and many advanced classes with Aya but I share now only what comes to the surface. There is much more going on than most perceive and if you want to know more, you will. Desire breeds knowing, knowing becomes stagnant and breeds new desire and so it goes on without end. I desire integration now, to drop my shield and join you all where you are, with no desire to change you. It's a process I'm going through and it won't happen the way I imagined it, It will happen in a way I could have never imagined it. (English translation My heart, I will love you, forever)
(actual scenery -the day after Ayahuasca ceremony at Kitari)

Friday, March 6, 2015


Update #4

Hello all, I have a lot of catching up to do! Since my last blog post I broke ANOTHER camera/phone... this time it was borrowed (that makes 3 in total). Christina has replaced it with a local iPad called a "Tupad" and I have mostly kept my hands off of it since we can't afford to break anything else :/

I want to talk about the theme that seems to be playing out currently in my life and that's transformation. It is coming in the form of realizing that what I used to write off as unimportant or trash is not at all what I thought it was. Much like the scientists mapping the human genome wrote off 97% of it as "junk DNA", I too am discovering the many uses for the things that currently get thrown away.

First (and also my favorite) is that my roommate put me in touch with a guy who creates pure virgin coconut oil. His product is of the highest quality and his price point reflects that. By-product that is created by making it is a coconut mash and up until now he's been throwing it away. He dried a large amount of it out for us and delivered about 10lbs of it. This by-product has SO many uses and one of the first things we did was create fresh coconut milk, it far surpassed in flavor any of the coconut milk we've ever purchased at home! Not only that but were just touching the surface of what we can use this dried material for. It's currently the consistency of sawdust and can be used for any food stuffs as a base (like flour is to bread) or as a healthy additive.

Second is very similar but with a different product its called Sacha Inchi (a type of wild peanut) and is another super food. It's sold locally as whole/ground nuts or a powder but I was informed that in reverse to what's happening with the coconut oil, the manufacturers are throwing away the essential oil as by-product when they're making the powder! the oil from this nut contains omega 3-6-9 fats and is also a solid source of protein, as somebody who has a background in health this is like a double home run when we get essential fats and protein in one product!

All my work out here seems to revolve around taking what others consider "trash" and learning first hand that there is NO SUCH THING!  

We literally have a use for everything out here...even the plastic waste get used by shoving the plastic wrappers and bags into the bottles until the bottle becomes as hard as a brick and gets used as a brick. The school here teaches the local children things like this and they just eat it up! If I'm going to be honest the kids here learn it much faster than I do and they take joy in bringing trash from outside and stuffing it in the bottles (while I sometimes shove a piece of plastic where I'm not supposed to when nobody is looking) Haha! I'm a work in progress... but the message is being understood loud and clear and I can see with my own eyes how this type of thinking is creating a healthier, sustainable planet. 

I had my first Ayahuasca ceremony out here (truly there isn't much to write about that experience), the cup was half a coconut shells worth and it was the most I have ever drank in one go. The taste is exactly as I remembered and I have developed a gag reflex to it. Getting it all down was a tremendous effort, that being said, the effects were the weakest I have ever experienced (with no visuals or inner journeys). I did however experience the cleansing aspect... as Mr. Gump likes to say "that's about all I have to say about that".

A caterpillar made it's way into our room last week and I was amazed as it had a forked tail like a snakes tongue and the brightest orange colored head. A couple of days ago I noticed some commotion in the aquaponics area so I poked my head in and that same caterpillar has now cocooned. I guess it's a ball of mush in there right now but I look forward to seeing what emerges. In the meantime please keep yourself entertained with pictures of my furry housemates!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

School in session

Update #3

Some of you have been waiting for the new blog and It's not for a lack of things to talk about that I've been waiting, I simply haven't felt like writing. We lost the use of our camera (phone) we brought with us and until it's replaced we will have to rely on the borrowing of friends cameras (thank you to Tom for loaning us his iPhone for the time being).

Things are up and down for me out here...

I came here on intuition which means that I have no clue what the next day will bring or how any of it fits together. It's within me to give my life meaning and it is within me to find joy or sorrow in that meaning. I must admit that on the days where I perceive little has been accomplished, I worry that maybe my intuition is broken and I must "do something" to correct it...

My senses are bombarded when I look at the huge sky and multicolored flowers everywhere, my ears strain to translate this beautiful language and I feel exhausted after only a couple hours of interacting with my supremely positive housemates. If another person were to share these insights with me I would shout "What a high-quality problem you have!", in the experiencing of it I must admit I struggle to take it all in.

The school house

A few days ago Christina and I said yes to helping out at a school house being prepared and the word "painting" was used in an unexpected way. We arrived early in the morning with Rebecca and were handed two bags and a shovel. Confused but eager, we followed our host down a path to a hole behind a barbed-wire fence. There was nothing but rocks and red clay on the other side and we were instructed to dig up the clay and put it in the bag... Fresh with morning energy I attacked the clay only to find it had rained the day before and it was hard to get a foothold. Whenever I took a step, I sunk my shoes deeper and deeper into the muck. I would not be undone- I filled my bag about half way before I checked for weight... OMG! This half-full bag must have weighed about 100lbs and I could only move it a couple steps before I had to drop it.

 I finally got it through the barbed-wire fence, I he-manned it the rest of the way over my head and with only 20 minutes into our adventure I was covered head to toe in muck and leaking sweat like I had just gone for a jog in saran wrap! The "painting" part came soon after- the red clay was mixed with sand and water to form some kind of plaster and we applied it with our hands to the outside of the school walls. I learned a few things about natural clay that day and a little something about mental preparation :)

I think this is a good time to temper the ass whooping I received at the school with what brings me joy every single day and that's the animals around the house. Two of the housemates, Tom and Danielle, came with animals- two puppies and a kitten to be exact (Inti, Qechu and Scree)! The puppies spend most of their time sleeping but wake up just long enough to eat and fight each other like two drunk babies. The kitten on the other hand is mostly a blur but stops long enough to headbutt your leg if you have any food.

We received a visitor a few days ago when a tall, skinny Frenchman showed up at our door and asked to stay. He had just come out of the jungle where he spent 6 weeks following a strict dieta and he was dizzy and confused. Nobody was quite sure how he found his way to us but strange occurrences are the norm here. This interesting tri-lingual (French, English, Spanish) fellow peaked my curiosity so I inquired as to what he was doing in the jungle and how he arrived in this place (there seems to be a common thread when you listen to how we all found each other).

 Alexandre explained that he felt compelled to leave France to explore different parts of the world learning about permaculture. He has a passion for inner knowing that was cultivated through Vipassanā meditation techniques. When he first came to Peru, a close friend took him to an Ayahuasca ceremony and he's been following the instructions of a Shaman since then. He isn't allowed to shower in cold water or walk in the rain right now and he arrived with cockroaches falling out of his bags. This "jungle hobo" has showed us how to improve our Aquaponics system and he makes the most interesting food stuffs out of foraged plants from the  neighborhood.

San Roque

Future Aquaponics station in San Roque
This week, there was a trip to the jungle town of San Roque, where Dave is in talks with the mayor and believes this is the perfect spot to implement his master plan. Utilizing the water surrounding the town to bring hydro-electric power to the town for free while creating a giant aquaponics system (this is already partially completed). Implementing a better recycling program that entices the locals to exchange their waste for "credits" that can be used to buy things locally, he then takes the bio-waste to create a rich, fertile soil called Bokashi and non bio-waste gets packed into plastic bottles that are then used as bricks for building... FULL recycling.

 The reason he picked this town is because the fresh water that runs down the mountain side is the head water supply not just for this town but continues all the way to where we are in Tarapoto. Dave would like San Roque to be a shining example of what is possible in the new paradigm and this is just the beginning!