Happy Mother’s day to all the women in the world. In this article, provided by El Telegrafo, May 12, 2013 , from Ecuador, we see how mothers in Yasuni Park, the richest bio-diversity in the world are working to sustain their lives and not give in to the exigencies of capitalism, competition, and global despair.
Residents provide accommodation to tourists and the revenues created are used for communal savings
Three hours from El Coca (Orellana) sits a community, which occupies 21,400 hectares of national park. 182 people live there who, since 1998, have been involved in an ecotourism project. They have created chonta-pambil cabins and receive 10,000 tourists annually. Proceeds are used for health and education of their
Women rule the Yasuní. At least this is true in the Anangu community, located three hours down the Napo River, where 27 women decided to take over the town and start a community tourism project in the jungle. They called it “Yasuni Ecolodge Kichwa” (http://www.yasuniecolodge.travel/).
Mary Yumbo, 26, leads the initiative. She is the mother of two girls and their culture that they maintain the home while the men go hunting and then afterwards, rest. The women harvest cassava and fish in the river to feed the family.
Yumbo leads the way, with attached children in front of her belly as she holds the cabuya shigra within which to place food. Women plant the fields, they manage the house, they prepare the food and prepare the chicha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicha) and woven necklaces, earrings and bracelets from seeds collected in their long daily walks. They walk barefoot for more than 200 kilometers.
For 15 years, community tourism became an option for the locals. In the area where 182 people (33 families) live, administrators provide two private hotels near them and they work as tour guides.
In the past, it was very difficult because they had to leave their children. Thus, the community decided to found their own eco-friendly hotel.
“We work here and we do not leave our children. Tomorrow a group of 15 gringos will come. We are happy”, says the woman with long black hair and wearing a painted sleeve (a plant of extracting the color black) a sun and chonta leaves on her forehead and cheeks.
She was born in Yasuní, which is defined as “life”. Speaking looud and holding her child’s hand she warns: “We are determined to protect our life if necessary in Yasuní, even if someone wants to destroy or exploit it.”
The commune Añangu sits in the province of Orellana, about 21,400 acres of Yasuní Park which borders the 998,000 acre extension and reaches the province of Pastaza.
Traveling is not easy. Canoes arrive with one or two engines, which, depending on the weather, have to overcome the thick fog that forms on the Napo River. The residents know that when there is fog on the water, it will be very hot.
They say the Napo River is wise. The guide helps them not to get stuck, either in the current or sand mountains that emerge when the tide is low. To this must be added that large trees have established deep roots and thick trunks and thus water rises to the surface.
“Those are our lights,” jokes a driver, who, to avoid the boat pond in the sand, watches the water and when they leave bubbles, he knows that the river is low.
The temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius
The Kichwa community chose a secluded spot to settle. It’s in the middle of the jungle and they live in absolute harmony with boas, monkeys, eagles, tigers, panthers, tapirs, tarantulas, peccaries, which also face their own struggle to survive.
“Look there, there’s a tapir skeleton; about 15 days ago I chased a tiger,” said Ricardo Yumbo, 22 years of age. The battle was intense. From that tapir remains only the skeleton of what was once his jaw. The young man is the husband of Mary and a “tour guide” of Yasuni, whose biodiversity sets its own show in the middle of the jungle.
About 10 thousand people a year visit the lodge. They pay $ 150 a night and the money that the district receives is put in a savings community, used to create work or for the needs of each of its members. For example, in case of illness, recovery is funded as is the education of children and the children’s school breakfast. There also exists a school and a medical clinic.
Among its goals, stresses Mauritius Jipa, promoter of the initiative, is to create a college and a university to keep their children from leaving the community.
Visitors are offered three meals daily that are prepared by a chef community. Ricardo is Yumbo (22 years), and his specialty is a variety of maito and chicken. Ricardo did not learn gastronomy in an academic center.
“Experiment with the flavors”, he says with great confidence, and therefore he devised a small fried cassava muchines causing sensation among the inhabitants of Anangu, especially among children.
The community recently met Edison Paredes, a professional chef who helps them and teaches them to make desserts when they are needed.
“I learned to make apple pie”, says Ricardo.”I will do this more often,” he insists.
The Sounds of the Yasuni Park
Can you hear the sounds of Yasuni? Just listen carefully and be guided by the flight of thousands of butterflies of different colors and the singing of more than 200,000 birds, whose sizes range from three to 25 and 30 inches as the multicolored macaws, swallows, and eagles flying around the area .
Their singing sounds very strong. They hide and flit among the towering trees of pambil, the color is of dark green, measuring up to 35 meters high.
There are some parrots which prefer to lick, they are drawn to a huge rock, where millions of birds feed on mineral salts; this, according to Ricardo, keeps them alive.
There are also paired, while-yellow-black boas and they tangle, very slowly, between the liconias tree, preparing for their bird hunting.
In the Anangu community, Mary serves chicha de yuca pondo, freshly harvested. She does not ferment cassava; she prefers chewing chicha; but now they put yellow sweet potato in it as well. She says the task of chewing cassava mother was due to the fact they had the belief that she offered harmony. Beside her, Jacinta Yumbo, 52, sings because having visitors in her community is cause for celebration.
The residents also serve guayusa, and many take it before bed and if they have nightmares they do not go to the forest the next day, because they are convinced that something will happen. Jacinta’s song talks about the work of women in the preparation of chicha and when they all are drunk, she turns the pots and then rests with your partner.
In this part of the Yasuni, nature is thick and the trees are lush with thick trunks and roots that are strong and deep and that are infinite, as are the leaves that blend into the blue sky. One of the striking trees has two logs: one 30 inches in diameter.
“It’s called matapalo“, shouts Richard. The growth which is below the trunk is thin, but as it grows it becomes thicker.
“Sooner or later it ends up strangling the trees which live their struggles, just like us.”