I am writing on a rainy night from ¨Cyber,¨an internet cafe in the plaza de armas of Iquitos. All the buildings are shabby with tall ceilings--reminders of the elegance of the rubber boom. Young children roam the streets selling beaded bracelets and little boxes of gum that loses its flavor in less than 5 minutes. There is a constant hum from the swarms of motorcycles and mototaxis that navigate the streets (many of which are named after nearby rivers) and any car that cuts across theon the road looks like an instant predator.
The trip is off to a successful start. After two weeks filming the effects of the Interoceanic highway in Madre de Dios, Rebecca and Ryan arrived in Iquitos this weekend and were reunited with Laura, who has been here for over a month studying plant medicines. Phil and I flew into Lima on Sunday night and spend a day trying to navigate Lima´s chaotic transportation system and finally getting a meeting with the communications director of Peru´s indigenous movement, AIDESEP, who told us essentially that South American countries are biding their time by selling the rights to these tracks of land between themselves and the people of the jungle are prepared to take up arms against anyone who tries to invade their land.
We leave tomorrow for 10 days to travel by overnight river boat to Pevas and from there we will travel to a town farther up river to ask permission to attend a meeting of tribal leaders to discuss the problem of encroaching oil prospectors. Our guides will be Walter, the son of the nearby Bora tribe, and Cesar, a trusted shaman who we have known for years. They have assured us that by accompanying us we will be accepted by the tribal leaders, so for now we can only hope for the best.
Even in the city we have been able to record the songs and dances of the Bora people and a few amazing local shamans. So many people warn us that we need to be careful here are there are many shamans who cater to travelers just to make money and are not working for the best interest of the jungle and her medicines. We are lucky that we have been able to witness the work of these talented shamans who have been able to use these plants to develop their intuitions and healing powers.
It´s good to be back in Peru and its different pace of life. I love the sing-song accent of the people here and the few times we have been able to escape the city to quiet, verdant jungle. We hope these next 10 days will be full of songs, stories and a few safe adventures.
Thanks to everyone who has donated to ¨Spirit Songs.¨Your donations are being used for equipment, transportation costs, and to pay our local guides.
We will update again after we return from our trek.