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 Kaxinaw√° 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.

Moyobamba

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!