The Living Indigenous Pharmacy is a community based project led by Shipibo-Konibo community members in Paoyhan, in the district of Padre Márquez, Loreto in the Peruvian Amazon. This initiative came out of the urgency to improve quality of health within the population, by using traditional knowledge and medicines that the Amazon Rainforest provides. In this project, Alianza Arkana has taken the role as operational and technical adviser, providing temporary financial support through donations from organizations, individuals and state entities.
Our last the trip
Our last trip was very productive. Two days of hard work focused on two concrete activities: constructing a multipurpose maloka and taking GPS points of the five hectares of land we are using for this project.
We started our trip with our routine initial meeting to share updates and solidify our work plan. In this meeting, we presented our new official logo for the project, along with branded shirts sporting the logo that we will use in the future when we are carrying out campaigns in the community.
We also received the updates from the Committee of the Living Indigenous Pharmacy— who are all Shipibo-Konibo community leaders in the Paoyhan— where they highlighted their excitement to pick up the work. Lastly, we reexamined the priorities for the year and planned the daily activities for the current visit.
Getting to work!
The day after our arrival, we woke up at the break of dawn and took the thirty minute boat ride to the Living Indigenous Pharmacy. Upon arrival, we faced a variety of surprises from mother earth. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that many new medicinal plants sprouted up that we hadn´t had registered yet. In fact, we found them just a few meters away from the base camp! Nature´s wisdom and touch gifted us with more medicinal plants and we hope they continue to grow and flourish.
We then divided into two groups. One group focused on registering the geographic reference points of the entire area of our project by using GPS technologies. From these GPS points, we were able to see that 90% of the five hectares are and will continue to be dedicated to the conservation of medicinal plants. The remaining 10% is, for now, the base camp, where we are installing our infrastructure, including a self-sustaining food system, as well as other basic services. On the other hand, a larger group stayed constructing the multipurpose maloka. Within five hours many improvements were made and half of the walls were constructed. It is a joy to see, even with little, how we can make such great improvements and steps forward.
The second day of work was also productive. We stayed in the same teams as the previous day, but were fortunate enough to have the support of two additional people. In defining the geographic coordinates of the land, we can now better plan the project layout of the territory and better identify the paths we would like to create.
These points will be incredibly helpful in improving the plant inventory and also help us to group plants in a more systematic way. Besides the georeferencing, we also made great progress on the maloka. In fact, we completed twice as much as we did the first day, so this was greatly gratifying for all of us. The maloka is almost ready!
Moving forward with strength
During the evening, we convened again, with more members in attendance than the previous night. We spoke about some relevant points and we made decisions in moving forward in regards to the following visit. We will be back at the Living Indigenous Pharmacy in May, where we will focus on deep maintenance work and also host a workshop discussion about our future organizational statute. Similarly, the maloka will be completed in two visits, with the help and organization of the president of the Committee of the Living Indigenous Pharmacy, Humberto.
It is with your support that we are able to move forward efficiently with our work plan for this year. Ever cent that we receive makes it possible for us to travel, to buy materials, pay wages, food and more than anything, continuing dreaming.
We march on!