A.C.T. Grass Roots Approach

I spent the day with Frits. Today he took me back to school... Kwamala stlye.... I sat in a classroom and watched as he talked to the children about the forest... Obviously I couldn't understand much but the expressions on the childrens faces said it all.... They where fascinated. As the day progressed we joined a small group walking through the forest with Shaman Nata... It was wonderful to watch as from time to time he'd stop pull a leaf off a tree examine it and explain its use to the children. It was wonderful to watch... a nature walk with a Medicine Man... who wouldn't be fascinated

Having spent the last few days walking around the village talking with Frits about the work of the Amazonion Conservation Team (A.C.T). I'm begining to understand what they are trying to do here. Their approach is on a very grass roots level, working in intimate collaboration with the community in a relationship of trust that has been built up over many years. One of their main objectives is addressing the communities health problems - but in an unconventional and progressive way. By returning to traditional practises, utilising local knowledge and nature's plenty... they can supply accessable, affordable and effective care for the local community.

Traditionally the villagers relied on the local healers or Shaman for the treatment of illness... When the Church missions arrived and set up small hospital using modern medicines many shaman stopped practicing their craft, didn't teach their children the old ways.... With time, as the elders died so too did their knowledge... As a consequence much of what was known has now been forgotten... in Kwamala there are only five healers left.. five men... the last link with centuries of learning.... What A.C.T are trying to do is to preserve that knowledge, reminding the young that they don't have to rely soley on modern medicines. That nature has catered for most of their needs... if only they remember which plants to use. It goes a lot deeper than this. I have included a link at the bottom of this page so that we can explain their work in detail... I would like to thank Neville Gunter, a member of the ACT team for contacting us via e-mail yesterday and pointing out a few inaccuracies... The e-mail will also further explain the situation here in Kwamala... Have a read, it will be up on the discussion board tomorrow. (interesting comments on the mapping issue.. It is a complex story does anyone have any deeper information).

As the sun set on another perfect day we walked to the other side the village to watch a traditional dance called the 'Waiwahe' (Trio word- meaning vultures). With a multicoloured rainbow as a backdrop two villagers transported us to another time, another world... Its 1.45 in the morning on a beautiful moonlit evening in Kwamala....

I sleep well in my hammock... it doesn't seem to matter about the five hairy black tarrantulas that live in the palm roof above me... Night.



Passing on the Knowledge

Back to School

Waieha Dance

LINKS - Amazon Conservation Team
LINKS - Land Issues
LINKS - Ethnobiology
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