Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon

by Alianza Arkana
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Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon
Our meeting with Municipality
Our meeting with Municipality

What we consider a great achievement, the municipality of the province of Coronel Portillo, where we are located, has contacted us regarding technical support for the implementation of a public medicinal garden as soon as possible. We are now coordinating the specific resources they will provide; so far they offer their plant nursery to grow the seedlings, enough space in a centric public park, and the labor required for both planting and mainteinance. Meetings with the municipality's tourism office will also be held.

We are really excited because the local governments have the resources to invest in such projects, they just need the guidance and support that a team with the experience and knowledge such ours can provide. Sooner than we thought, we have managed to promote the incorporation of local natural medicine into public policies in our province.

On the other hand, thanks to donations like those from GlobalGiving, we have replaced recycled wooden planks for new, studier ones, and added better soil in all plant beds and pots in the pilot medicinal garden in our facilities. We are happy to see how the plants in our garden are starting to bloom, produce seeds and get stronger as rain season comes closer.

Cleaning our garden
Cleaning our garden
Replacing wooden planks
Replacing wooden planks
Any bucket is good as a pot
Any bucket is good as a pot
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First donations of seedlings to neighbors
First donations of seedlings to neighbors

Over the last 4 months, we have been seeing how, pleased and full of hope, despite the small amount of money raised, our first medicinal garden is growing both in number of species (almost 60) and visibility for the shipibo neighbors.

Since we have little resources to work with, we are learning how to take advantage of all materials available: we are reciclyng and employing our ingenuity. Those are valuable trasnferable skills because if we want new medicinal gardens to sprout in the homes of shipibo urbanites, which have limited monetary resources, they will need such skills.

Our new achievement during the end of this period was the forming of a new alliance with the charity collective "Dona para la Olla" (Donate for the Pot), an iniciative that mainly raises money by organizing virtual concerts to support the cooking of common meals, a slum strategy employed to face the scarcity of jobs and food during the crisis due Covid-19.

Since the crisis for food is mostly overcome, this collective contacted us and offered to support us under a new slogan: "Dona para el Jardin Medicinal" (Donate for the Medicinal Garden). Together, our main goal is to improve 3 medicinal gardens in shipibo homes, wich will be available for the whole neighborhood, providing tools, seedlings, better fences and watering systems and more, according to their needs.

While this report is being written, one of our shipibo neighbors is pruning an overgrown huito tree that stands in our own medicinal garden, in exchange for harvesting the fruits, highly aprecciated for obtaining organic hair and fabric dye.

This spontaneous sincronicities show us we are on the right path.

With your donations, we look forward to further access to traditional medicine for shipibo families living in the city, a population usually overlooked by state healthcare systems.

 

Leaf of mucura (Petiveria alliaceae)
Leaf of mucura (Petiveria alliaceae)
Shimipampana (Maranta arundinacea)
Shimipampana (Maranta arundinacea)
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Rao Banabo first plants
Rao Banabo first plants

We continue the advances on the medicinal urban garden in our place!

 

While we were cleaning the land and preparing it to install the garden, we had to remove some medicinal plants that already existed before, but needed to be removed. The good thing is that these plants were happily received by Shipibo neighbors to plant in their own gardens. The new is great, because, without foreseeing it and symbolically, the replication and promotion of exchanging and creating more gardens in the city is already underway.

We also found how some of the plants we planted are growing.Just to mention a few: the "piñon blanco", which controls diarrhea and acts as a natural healing agent; the "piñon colorado", which reduces fever; the "rosa cisa", which cures fear; the "mucura", which fights the flu; the "motelillo", which is traditionally used to have good feelings; and the "matico", whose leaf has faced the Covid-19, among many others. In short, a small and varied natural pharmacy is growing little by little.

In turn, we pruned branches from a huge ficus, which was blocking the light we need. Its large branches have been piled up and covered with soil to plant more medicinal plants.  Branches that, in less than a year, will be compost that will nourish our plants.

Although the road is still long, we have started at a good moment. Times in which the coronavirus has made us reevaluate the self-management of health in indigenous peoples.

 

Supporting this great project means supporting the replication of more medicinal gardens in urban areas of the Amazon region of Peru.

Thanks to your contributions we will achieve better and faster results!

Marcos, project leader
Marcos, project leader
Diego Villegas, working on maintenance
Diego Villegas, working on maintenance
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Raomis Manuela
Raomis Manuela

Rao Banabo (medicinal garden) is a new project promoted by Alianza Arkana. We seek to strengthen the transmission of knowledge and the sustainable use of medicinal plants for the Shipibo-Konibo population, in the Ucayali region, Peru

 

Advances continue with our first stage of work on the Rao Banabo project. After Marcos, our project manager, designed and selected the most suitable medicinal plants to start germinating life in the garden, and before continuing with the process, we decided to ask an important question to an important person: What do you think of this proposal and what do you think we are missing, Yoxan Manuela?

Manuela (Jakon Rate) is a wise Shipibo-Konibo elder. For decades, she has helped and guided many people through her ceremonies and has also greatly protected the ancient Shipibo-Konibo wisdom on the use of medicinal plants. Hence, listening to her opinion and suggestions was a privilege for us.

We had a very productive day with Manuela. We started going through the whole garden, observing, identifying and naming all the medicinal plants that we crossed on our way. Later, we had an exchange about the properties and uses of the main or most effective medicinal plants. Also, she  helped us identify the names of some plants in the Shipibo-Konibo language that we only recognized by their regional spanish name.

Just to give a couple of examples, "Ronon Rao" or Jergón Sacha, is a medicinal plant that is widely used as a powerful anti-viral. Likewise, "Bana Boains" or Mucura, is a common plant used for respiratory infections and for washing away bad luck through baths. 

The results have been very satisfactory. Despite not having the area for large trees, we have a list of over 45 plants that we could grow in the little medicinal garden! With this, we are showing that the size of the land you have does not matter as long as we have the desire to care for them and keep this ancestral indigenous practice alive. We thank Manuela and the enormous work of Marcos and the entire Alianza Arkana team who put their grain of sand in this new process.

We invite you to share this project with your family, friends and contacts that you are also committed to strengthening the ancestral knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. We greatly thank you for all the support you give us.

We will keep updating you with our progress!

Project leader, Marcos
Project leader, Marcos
Natural medicine
Natural medicine
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“The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected humanity. In the Ucayali region of Peru, Shipibo-Konibo families, as well as other peoples of the world, have re-encountered themselves with medicinal plants that have always been close by. With this healing alternative, hundreds of lives have been saved”

 

We are as convinced as you are that helping to revitalize knowledge about medicinal plants can be an effective and powerful alternative to the complex and unfavorable national public health system that affects the Indigenous Peoples in Peru. According to official data from the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI), less than 50% of native Shipibo communities have a health facility, of which the vast majority are medical posts that have limited quality care. In turn, we also know that most communities self-medicate or consult an expert in traditional medicine when they suffer from any ailment.

In the case of urban Shipibo families, it is part of everyday life for mothers and grandmothers in the nuclear family to use medicinal plants to cure diseases. The difficulty is in the intergenerational transmission of this information to the youth. This is due to different reasons, among them, the diminishing interest of young people to learn; the culture of “pharmaceutical health” as a quick measure of cure; and the reluctance of the State to truly promote policies that favor ancestral / traditional medicine.

As a result, Alianza Arkana has created the “Rao Banabo” (which translates to medicinal garden in the Shipibo-Konibo language) program, which seeks to contribute to the revitalization of ancestral knowledge, and the promotion of medicinal plants in the Amazon region. Territorially, despite our history of working primarily in rural areas, we want to focus on urban areas, where many Shipibo families currently live.

The first stage of the program focuses on the implementation of a sustainable medicinal garden in “Casa AMETRA”, which will serve as a model to be replicated in other establishments or spaces in the region. In addition to being a productive garden, it will seek to contribute to the facilitation of meeting spaces between traditional medicine experts to strengthen knowledge and promote learning in new generations. Likewise, we hope to expand spaces for intercultural scientific research.

This medicinal garden represents the first stage of a series of activities to be carried out in the future. It will serve as the guiding pilot project to later share its results with other institutions, organizations or families interested in following this model.

We thank you immensely for your support and for being part of Rao Banabo. A project that is relevant today more than ever. Join our work and share this initiative!

 

**Photos: Gabriela Delgado Maldonado

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Organization Information

Alianza Arkana

Location: Yarinacocha, Ucayali - Peru
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Development Team
Yarinacocha, Ucayali Peru
$14,123 raised of $24,526 goal
 
127 donations
$10,403 to go
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