Tarantulas, shaman, anaconda, monkeys… the Jamu Lodge in the Amazon rainforest provided a fantastic adventure for Craig and me to celebrate his birthday.

But complex issues surround the rainforest and its people. The people were given land here before Cuyabeno became a wildlife preserve: the result is that the indigenous communities have become one of the protected species of Cuyabano, in a way.

Jamu Lodge

To reach Jamu Lodge, we had to fly, then go by bus, then get into canoes.

Exploring the Rainforest

We explored the rainforest both by boat and by hiking.

Visiting Local People

We traveled by canoe to meet Tomas, a local shaman. Tomas studied from the age of 8 until the age of 40 before he graduated. His brain holds the collective knowledge of many generations of shaman Thirty two years of knowledge about the medicinal plants of the rainforest, including cures for many diseases the West doesn’t know about yet. Pharmaceutical companies have learned a lot from men like Tomas. He is one of the few shamans left with this much knowledge. If his way of life is wiped out, the cures for countless human ailments could remain hidden in the forest forever.

We also visited a traditional village and learned about making bread from the cassava root. There are no other ingredients – once the flour is made, it’s patted into a pan and cooked. Voila! bread.

Author

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. Lauren has written regularly for CBS Local, WebPsychology, Hipmunk, and Hotelplanner, and has also been published in The Culture-ist, Matador, and other online and print publications.

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