The Amazon region is the largest rainforest on our planet, with the most diverse species of tropical rainforest in the World. The region of Amazonia covers a territory which belongs to nine different nations.
Our Plan was to discover the Peruvian part of Amazonia along the Ucayali River.
The Ucayali River arises near Lake Titicaca, where our amazing journey in Peru started three months ago, he runs all along Peru where he meets up in the North with the Maranon River and forms the largest river on earth, the Amazon. To reach this unique area of Peru we had a long and breathtaking journey to take.
The only transport inside the Amazon Jungle is either by boat or by airplane, so we decided to leave our car in Lima for a while and used the local transport on our journey through the Amazon region.
With our bags ready, camera in hand and open minded we left Lima with our friends from San Bartolo, Watchi and Nacho, by bus to drive to Pucallpa, a city which lays along the Ucayali River and is the getaway into the heart of the Jungle. The bus drive brought us over the Andes slowly from 4600 meter above sea level down to 150 meter, accompanied by an armed soldier, who served to protect the bus from muggings throughout the 20 hour bus drive.
From the port of Pucallpa a boat took us about 350 kilometers down the Ucayali River to Contamana, a typical small jungle town surrounded by nothing more than nature.
The cruise on this massive river through the Amazon jungle made us question which direction mankind is heading.
There was no way to overlook the huge impact of civilization to our planet.
Large areas of jungle along the river had to move so that the farmers could satisfy the huge demand of food like bananas, yucca and corn for the consistently growing population around the world.
In Contaman we had the chance to meet Watchis friends Hermando and his wife Neida who welcomed us with open arms at the pier.
Hermando is a well known shaman of the traditional medicine from the Shipibo Tribe. The Shipibo tribe counting more than 25000 people with the majority living along the Ucayali, they still have very deep connections to the forests and their inhabitants.
He and his family gave us a very warm welcome and offered us to join a traditional Shaman ceremony inside the jungle.
We were more than happy to accept this invitation. To do this we had to leave Contamana and cross the river; after we had filled up our stock of food and water at the local market.
We crossed in a Peque-Peque (one tree canoe) a big laguna where on the other side, hidden by the massive jungle, the hut of the Shaman was situated.
Surrounded by everything that the jungle has to offer; Mango trees, Banana palm- trees, Lemongrass, Parrots, Eagles, Lizards, Monkeys and numerous types of insects, we pitched up our camp for the following days.
Hermando explained to us in great lengths about his Pharmacy, the jungle. Every plant has a special purpose in the Shaman culture of the Amazonas, he said.
There are plants which can cure infections of the body, different types of cancer and many other diseases but not only physical problems , the different mixtures of the plants are also there to help the patients to solve mental barriers, disorders or problems and confront them with themselves.
The Shamans task is to prepare the right mixture from the various plants and guide the people through the ceremony.
He works more like a friend or very connected person and gives you a very comfortable and warm feeling.
You never feel that you have to follow specific rules or rituals, everything that you do is your own decision and of your own will, the Shaman is just there to support and guide you and to give you a protective perception.
The ceremony always happens in complete darkness, when you only have the light from the stars and the bright moon coincided by an impressive concert from a million different insects. The Shaman’s ceremony happens on the floor, where the group sits in a circle and is followed by songs spoken in the native Shipibo tongue. The singing directs the ceremony and connects the participants with the each other, the Shaman and themselves. Everybody is free to join the singing and the rhythm of these special nights.
When the Shaman feels it is the right moment for everybody, he closes the ceremony with a unique song and everybody has enough time to think and learn about his own experience.
After one week full of different activities like…
…cleaning up the area around the hut…
…and cooking with what the jungle gave us or refreshing in the lagoon we made our way back to Lima.
With a mind full of new impressions and our car good to go, we are leaving Peru to head up north a long the coast
Thank you all for having that great time with you!
Chris & Flo