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Secoya Territory


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The Secoya People
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An Intercultural Wilderness Journey

Sometime in July, 2007.
Dates will be determined shortly.
10 days/9 nights

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Come in solidarity
beholding the majesty of primary Rainforest
on the banks of the Aguarico River in the
Upper Ecuadorian Amazon
with elders and youth -
forest masters, traditional healers, visionaries, ethnobotanists, and tropical biologists.

We intend this event to be an unforgettable experience
with unforgettable people that in some way
will nourish, enrich and strengthen the root of your life.

Proceeds benefit Grupo Osanimi’s
Rainforest Conservation and Cultural Heritage Projects
in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes

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JONATHON S. MILLER-WEISBERGER -- Ethnobotanist, Conservation Biologist, Guide, Interpreter, Director of Grupo Osanimi/The Osa Foundation; founder and steward of Guaria de Osa, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

He spent 10 years in the Ecuadorian Amazon among 5 distinct Indigenous communities working on Rainforest Conservation and Cultural Heritage Projects with the Huaorani, Secoya, and Kichua Peoples. Jonathon, aka Sparrow, introduces you to rainforest survival and conservation strategies, Nature as Teacher, the important role plants play, and an overview of the area's bio-region. His zest for life is contagious and a hike with Jonathon cannot be missed. Ultimately, Jonathon’s work is to support the re-awakening of humanity’s harmonious relationship with Nature, a paradigm of interconnectedness he considers to be the roots of a joyous life.

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“Yo extiendo un saludo fraterno y en agradecimiento por el labor que vienes realizando con beneficio del pueblo Secoya.” -- CELINDA PIAGUAJE, ex-Presidente de OMSE, Mujeres Secoya del Ecuador

“I extend a sisterly greeting and in gratitude for the good work Grup Osanimi does in benefit of the Secoya Nation.” -- CELINDA PIAGUAJE, former President of OMSE, The Secoya Women’s Organization of Ecuador

“Con estas pocas palabras, quiero agradecer profundamente a Jonathon por la gran asistencia que él da al Pueblo Secoya.”
-- ANGEL CELESTINO PIAGUAJE, educador e autor Secoya

“With these few words, I wish to infinitely thank Jonathon for the great assistance that he gives the Secoya People.” -- ANGEL CELESTINO PIAGUAJE, Secoya, educator and author

“Este trabajo viene de nuestro entendimiento que es nuestra oblicación actuar cuándo vemos que tenemos que actuar. Entonces cuándo tenemos amigos quien nos apoya, cómo Grupo Osanimi, nuestros sueños se realizan con más posibilidades.” -- ALFREDO PAYAGUAJE, Secoya ethnobotánico y autor

“This work comes from our understanding that it is our obligation to act when we see we must. Then to have friends that can support us like
Grupo Osanimi makes it possible to fulfill these dreams.”
-- ALFREDO PAYAGUAJE, Secoya ethnobotanist and author

“Nos place informarle que uno de los proyectos de aporte cultural es la construcción de un Jardín Etnobotánico, el cual albergará a especies vegetales de importancia ancestral para este pueblo, de cuya información se elaborarán documentos que puedan servir como una guía instructive para capacitar a las nuevas generaciones en la utilización de las plantas y preservar el conocimiento cultural de los Secoyas. Jonathon Miller es un técnico que pertence a nuestra institución el cual, para efectos de ejecución de este proyecto, actuará como coordinador, general asegurándose de esta manera el éxisto esperado.” — Econ. LUIS ORTIZ, ex-Director Executivo de UTEPA

“One of the projects of cultural support is the construction of the Secoya Ethnobotanical Garden which will harbor plant species of ancestral importance for this community, whose information will expand into documents which can serve as an instructive guide to provide the younger and future generations in the implementation of the plants and preservation of the cultural knowledge of the Secoya. Jonathon Miller is a technician associated with our institution who will put into effect this project and act as the main project coordinator to assure the expected success.” — Economist, LUIS ORTIZ, a former Executive Director of UTEPA

“The remarkable thing about the Sentient Experientials staff is their connection with traditional native peoples, not by eco-tourist agreement but the time honored relationship of trust, friendship and open heart.” — PETER SWETLAND, Kokopelli Imports, Canada

“I feel that with Jonathon not only did I gain access to a remarkable region of the world, I was also given insight and understanding.” — PAUL THEROUX, author of The Mosquito Coast

“I directly experienced the spiritual depth, beauty and living presence of the rainforest-- the power and beauty of the earth, Pachamama, as a living being. I recommend this journey for all conscious individuals seeking to connect with their original nature-- exploring potential for greater healing and wholeness.”— VERNICE SOLIMAR, Chair of Consciousness Studies, John F. Kennedy University, California

“The Sentient Experientials tour, while not the easiest thing I have ever done in my life, was an extremely meaningful experience for me. The journey was an extraordinary opportunity to visit an indigenous tribe in the deep Ecuadorian Amazon, learn about their spiritual traditions and plant medicines, and commune with the tribal elders and the shaman. It was also thought provoking and heart-wrenching, as we were confronted, along the way, with the devastation caused by over-development and, above all, the pure exploitative greed of the oil companies. What made the trip particularly remarkable was the relationship of trust that the Sentient Experientials staff has formed with the Secoya Indians. That sense of trust radiated throughout the journey. I recommend this tour to anyone who wants to know what is really going on in the world today.”— DANIEL PINCHBECK, author of Breaking Open the Head (Chapter 22: “My Shamanic Vacation”)

"The Secoya journey was an empowering experience, not only for myself as an advocate for tropical and temperate rainforest conservation. During these times of intensifying technological and developmental pressures in their territory, Jonathon's work is one of the only western influences in Secoya history which is firmly rooted in respect and honor for the Secoya's physical and cultural survival." — DAVID WALSH, Ancient Forest International (AFI) and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)

"I felt comfortable and safe in the forest. Completely at one with the spirit of the forest." — EMILY SWETLAND, Kokopelli Imports, Canada

"Needless to say, the trip was and continues to be memorable, life transforming and just plain incredible. I think about it all the time and it has hardly receded in my memory despite the return of the routines of work, driving, shopping, the same old grind. It's hard to put into words all that took place and, as you mentioned, we will be processing this for months. The most important thing for me though is that my heart has been truly opened and hungers for a return." — BARBARA NELSON, psychologist

“The days I spent in the emerald green light of the rain-forest still shine in my consciousness and I can still hear the night song of the insects and monkeys chattering with each other... I hear the chanting shaman.  I can close my eyes and again I am hanging in a handwoven hammock, in the night, by the firelight, the shaman songs take off with my spirit for a journey...   to the heart of nature and my own heart, to the wisdom of nature and my own wisdom.  The time I spent with the Secoya People in the summer of 2000 still informs my daily life — it has helped to make my spirit unselfish and open to the profundity of Nature and the wisdom of Indigenous People.” — SYLVIA GIBSON, teacher 

“Since 2000, I think about Ecuador and the time I spent there almost every day, at least every week. It is one of the most important events in my life. It changed my soul radically forever. Giving me an enduring connection to Source. A knowing. A taste of reality in this topsy turvey world. It is a blessing that I give thanks for constantly. Thank you for your purpose and wonderful self. Thank you for raising two great kids with their heads on straight. The world really needs it. For the magical abilities that manifest through you.” — MORGAN GILLIO, massage therapist

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Sentient Experientials 2006 will be held at Ñantarasta Wë'e - The Dawn Star Lodge - on the Secoya Community land worked by Don Cesareo Piaguaje (79) and his wife Doña Joaquina Payaguaje (69), well-respected community Secoya traditional elders. The lodge sits on a hill overlooking the Aguarico River in the upper Napo Amazon Region in the Province of Sucumbíos.

The Dawn Star Lodge was built with the help of Grupo Osanimi as a place to hold cultural revival workshops among Secoya elders and youth. It is fairly large at 60 feet long by 25 feet wide. Don Cesareo and Doña Joaquina are botanical gardeners. There are more than 100 species of cultivated useful plants that surround the lodge.

Located 3 hours by motorized canoe down-river from Chiritza, where the road ends, the Dawn Star Lodge is surrounded by a huge expanse of uninterrupted primary tropical moist rainforest for hundreds of miles. The four types of primary ecosystems in our immediate region are riparian varsea forest, dryer inland firm soil ridge forest, humid riparian creek valley forest and swampy palm grove forest, all of which have unique ecological characteristics.

The housing arrangements will be rustic. Our camp, alongside the Dawn Star Lodge, consists of large and spacious blue and green plastic tarps strung at the edge of the forest or by the river. There will be ample dry and shady space for comfortable living conditions with several perfect spots to set up private tents. A table and bench will be built if you wish to have one.

The Dawn Star Lodge has an open space for gatherings, dialogues and talks, lounging in hammocks, arts and crafts, and meals. There is also limited sleeping space for people who prefer to sleep in the lodge.

Should you purchase a Secoya hammock, or bring your own, we will hang it for you under your tarp and/or under the stars. Although rustic, this camping setup has proven to be quite suitable and equally romantic, protected from sun and rain, creating an ambiance for people to relax, lounge and chat, surrounded by exotic vegetation and the prolific sounds of the forest.

Each participant must bring a sleeping mat, a blanket or a light-weight sleeping bag, and a smaller tarp that we can string up as a place to store your bags, or to extend your roof.

The bathroom and washing is also camping style and rustic. We swim and bathe in the Aguarico River or wash with a gourd in a small spring nearby. There is neither electricity nor showers with bathrooms. However, there are two enclosed toilets that stand at the edge of a hill with a magnificent view of the Agua Rico River! Rest assured that the conditions are suitable and not too hard to get accustomed to.

Besides the extremely high diversity of beetles and bugs that are fascinating to look at and which don't interfere in daily life, there are relatively few or no bothersome mosquitoes in our area. The region we will be staying in is a forest paradise. Although there is extremely low malaria risk we suggest that participants take a malaria profolaxis – either a traditional/alternative or an allopathic remedy. Citronella or any other natural-based mosquito repellent is useful because in some cases newcomers are more sensitive or prone to attract bugs.

Our simple and exquisite meals will be prepared by a health-minded chef and a Secoya kitchen staff. The menus will consist of simple South American food: rice and beans, various kinds of local traditional and delicious soups, fresh fruit and vegetables, sweet potatoes, yucca, and so on. There will be plenty of purified drinking water and hot water for tea and coffee available throughout the entire day. We will have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have a high metabolism we suggest you bring some kind of trail mix or energy bars to eat between meals and on hikes.

Our lodge site is situated less than one degree south of the Equator and rests from 260 meters above sea level by the river, to 370 meters above sea level on the ridges and hilltops (850-1215 feet above sea level). The average rainfall is approximately 3000 - 3500 mm (just under 10 feet) per year. The region has an average annual temperature of 25 degrees Centigrade (77 degrees Fahrenheit), with an approximate daily fluctuation of 21 C (70 F) at night and 26 C (79 F) during the day; the average humidity is 85%-90%. Despite the temperature and the humidity, the climate is quite comfortable inside the shady and cool forest.

The region has an incredibly high biological diversity, harboring over 300 tree species per hectare, and a combined average of nearly 1600 species of flowering plants. Biological inventories have shown Ecuador to have nearly one half of South America's bird species. Over 500 species of birds are found in our area, including Macaws, Amazon parrots and Oropendulas (a bird which impeccably imitates the calls of other birds). The area is also home to many species of monkeys including Howlers, Wholly, Capuchins, Squirrel Monkeys, Pygmy Marmosets, and Tamarin Monkeys. Many species of mammals can be found in the area, including giant armadillo, giant anteater, sloth, ocelot, puma and jaguar, Coati mundis, kinkajou, tamandua, peccary and agouti. Over 700 species of butterflies have been identified in the greater area. Anaconda, caimans, or river turtles may also be seen sunning up-river on the banks. If one is a keen, patient and lucky observer, all kinds of wildlife may be seen. However, we make no promises because wildlife has a unique way of being invisible.

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The Secoyas are an ethnic minority, autochthons of the Upper Napo Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, numbering approximately 350 people in Ecuador and 500 in Perú. Their language belongs to the Western Tukanoan linguistic group and their name, Secoya, means "People from the Multi-Colored River." They are an original people of the Amazon, whose culture and ancestral homelands are now imperiled due to imposed political discrepancies, industrial civilization and the encroachment of colonization. Despite the struggle in which they find themselves, the Secoyas have a strong sense of engagement with their history of the past and present, and maintain their rich oral tradition. They are true masters and mistresses of the forest.

The Secoyas, who traditionally live amidst 100,000 acres of whitewater "varsea" and blackwater "igapó" rainforest ecosystems, in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon in the Province of Sucumbíos, have for thousands of years nurtured a deep relationship with the forest and its myriad varieties of plants, insects, and animals. They have relied upon subsistence agriculture and the bounty of the forest to provide for their family needs. Secoya traditional elders and healers use over 350 species of medicinal plants which are regarded as sacred family treasures.

We have known and interacted with the Secoyas for many years. We are considered personal friends. During this event, our teachers and guides who will facilitate healing, story telling and dream interpretation are representatives from the community spanning at least 3 generations. Participants will be in the company of forest masters/mistresses with knowledge of extensive plant lore embodying ageless traditions, experience and wisdom.

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US$2000/person for 10 days / 9 nights

Space is limited to 12 travelers in good health that can take long deep forest hikes and live for several days in a traditional manner (without the modern conveniences and values of the techno- world). Physically, this is not an arduous journey.


Land transportation • River transportation • Guides • Translators • Entrance fee to Papallacta Hot Springs • porter service, and the itinerary below:

DAY 1From the Andes to the Amazon by Land; Quito to Papallacta Hot Springs to Lago Agrio to Chiritza to the Dawn Star Lodge

About 9 a.m., after breakfast (we leave Quito on a chartered bus (with reclining seats so one can sleep and/or nap). The bus ride takes us through the Andes Mountains were we view the breathtaking scenery as we ascend a 14,000 foot high mountain pass, then begin our descent down the Andean slopes to the Amazon basin, through steep valleys covered in cloud forest, past waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, and gorges.

About 11 a.m. we stop in an Andean polylepsis forest. These trees are in the rose family, indigenous to the Andes Mountains, with thick, paper-like bark. We then head on for a light lunch followed by an entire afternoon in Papallacta Hot Springs. The river there is very beautiful and there is much to explore. If the mist which engulfs this region most of the year lifts, we will be granted a view of 19,500 ft. Mount Antisana. This gorgeous snow-capped volcano, home to condors and the Andean Spectacled Bear, is blanketed in cloud forest to just below its snowline – a breathtaking sight while we relax in the springs.

After three hours of soaking in the hot baths, we’ll lunch, then continue to Lago Agrio or Shushufindi where we sleep in a comfortable hotel.

Day 2 - Lago Agrio to Chiritza to the Dawn Star Lodge

After breakfast in Lago Agrio or Shushufindi (“classic wild-west/cowboy” petrol towns) and picking up some last-minute necessities for the journey, our road trip continues for about 3 hours to Chiritza, stopping to buy some coconuts at a local farm.

The river trip begins at Chiritza, a small settlement of 5 – 7 houses on the bank of the Aguarico River located at the end of the road. At Chiritza we are met by our Secoya friends with their dugout canoes. Downriver from here lies the tremendous vast unroaded wilderness of the Amazon, Ecuador’s Amazonian Province of Sucumbios.

We travel 3 hours down-river to our destination – between the two Secoya Communities of San Pablo and Seguaya – at the Dawn Star Lodge in Secoya Territory.

On the way down-river we stop to visit San Pablo, a Secoya village where we pick up several elders who will accompany us during our intercultural visit. We arrive at the Dawn Star Lodge by early afternoon. We set up our sleeping arrangements, swim, and have dinner.

Day 3 to Day 9

During these days we have ample time for all kinds of experiences: meet the forest and the Secoyas, get to know each othr, learn, and grow. Each day will be unique. Meal times: Breakfast 8 – 9 am. Lunch 1- 2 pm. Dinner 6:30 – 7:30 pm.

• All of the activities are optional. You may come and simply be present and attentive, explore the forest and mingle

• Although schedule is tentative, depending on what the daily weather fluctuations permit, sprinkled throughout our stay, we can offer:
Ethnobotanical Field Techniques: Plant collecting for local Secoya Ethnobotanical Gardens
Forest hikes into the Amazon Rainforest to learn about the local flora and fauna and marvel at the magnificence of the primary forest
Identifying plants and monkeys, toucans, and other wildlife
Sunset canoeing and midnight river outings, hopefully, to spot caimans napping on the river banks
Arts and Crafts with the Secoyas: traditional style crowns after gathering the materials in the forest; pottery, baskets, bead-making Please bring plenty of beads, needles and nylon threads
Informal circles to listen to Amazonian legends and ancient myths from the Indigenous elders; their cosmology, mythology story-telling
Bird-watching (best at dawn)
Canoe excursions on the Agua Rico River
Secoya-style face and body painting with natural traditional pigments
Special cultural activities with the elders
Dream interpretation and copal incense purification smudging
River swimming
Hammock ‘meditations’ / siestas (an ancient stress remedy)
Conversations (with translations) by elders on their mythology and their world-view; a paradigm representing cultural heroism, and mythic achievement
With Jonathon: Chi Gong-Taoist breath tonic and light Tai-chi and Yoga body stretches to increase our personal stamina throughout the tropical day
Sunrise drinking with Yoco (sapindaceae, Paullinia yoco), a vine containing caffeine which the Secoyas rasp and drink at sunrise to begin a day’s work.

Paullinia yoco, Richard Evans Schultes et Killip, Bot. Mus. Leafl., Harvard Univ. 10 (1942): taruco yoco (Witoto); totao yoco, po yoco, yoco cú (Kofán) yoco, yoco blanco, cananaguche yoco, huarmi yoco, tigre yoco, verde yoco, yajé yoco, yoco yajé, yoco colorado, yoco de brajo, yoco negro (Columbia). Scultes in The Healing Forest writes (pgs. 407 – 409): “In the westernmost Amazonia of Columbia, Ecuador, and northern Perú, many of the tribes employ yoco as a daily stimulant and occasionally as a febrifuge. The plant – an extensive liana – is apparently never cultivated, probably because of its slow growth.

Although not a food, it is one of the most important plants in the diets of the Indians. Every Indian household keeps a supply of yoco stems, and a few natives ever make a trip of more than a day through the forests without carrying two or three pieces. Because of the great demand for yoco, the liana is becoming hard to find near Indian settlements. Its scarcity is one of the causes of occasional abandonment of excellent sites by an entire group of Indians.

In the tribes using yoco – Kofáns, Sionas, Inganos, Koreguajes, Secoyas and probably others – the bark is rasped into [only] cold water and kneeded to prepare a very bitter drink. It is normally taken in the very early morning before any food is ingested. The stimulant effects are felt within 15 to 20 minutes … It is the only stimulant plant of the Secoyas and Sionas.”

Day 10 - From Secoya to Papallacta Hot Springs to Quito

After breakfast, we depart from Secoya upriver to Chiritzas where we board our bus on our way up the Andean Mountains towards Papallacta. If time permits, we make a visit to an oil well site.
As we wind up from the lowlands to the pre-mountain and then the Andean Mountain regions we experience the vegetation and climatic transitions.
Anticipated arrival time into Quito may be around 8 pm.

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Please Note: Because Sentient Experientials channel funds toward ground-level rainforest conservation and cultural heritage projects via Grupo Osanimi, as well as, create an economic opportunity for the indigenous staff, guides and workers involved in the event, we are obliged to keep expenses low and maximize each dollar. Therefore, tuition does not include:

• Airfare to and from Ecuador

• All Quito expenses: hotel and meals, including taxi about $5 one way; hotel about $35/night

• Mandatory health-evacuation insurance

• Ecuadorian exit airport tax US$31.60

• At Papallacta Hot Springs and Lago Agrio: meals, beverages, and hotels, en-route to and from the jungle, about US$200 round-trip/participant’

• US$100 tips ($10/day) to guides, community helpers, cook, entrance fees
Strong, lace-like Secoya hammocks, hand-made by elders, holding 2-3 people, costs about US$150 - $200

• We suggest you bring trail mix, nuts and/or power energy bars for wilderness camping

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This journey offers an introduction to an Indigenous worldview of culture, spirituality and rainforest ecology, including the plight of the rainforest and the Secoya, and other indigenous people(s). We will dialogue on the effects of colonialism on landscape and mindscape, our notions of the rainforest and indigenous cultures, the exploitation of forest resources, and the effects of deforestation. Issues will also include: embodied ecological awareness, social justice and social responsibility, representation of the other, and the insights and contributions of shamanism and indigenous wisdom towards sustainable survival and meaningful living in our contemporary world.


• Nature as Teacher, Deep Ecology and the Indigenous Self: how Nature itself can be our greatest teacher; cultural and biological diversity of the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon with an overview of the area's bio-regionalism, traditions and worldview.

• Spiritual development: the relationships between people, the natural world, and divine universal realms.

• The role of several plants: exploring and learning how traditional wisdom is becoming increasingly pertinent for the unraveling of the secrets necessary to harmoniously navigate through these tumultuous times.

• Mythology, cultural heroism and mythic achievement: myths are condensed information packages that reveal great lessons, unfolding secrets connected to fundamental principles pertaining to our daily lives.

• Introduction to the useful and medicinal plants of the region that surround teeming the jungle lodge.


• Towards territorial and cultural autonomy: demarcation and recuperation of ancestral homelands and de-colonization of landscape and mindscape.

• The New Ethnobotany seeks new methods for cultural transmission: basic ethnobotany field techniques, ethics and skills; how ethnobotany can serve as an effective tool for rainforest and cultural conservation; how this new ethnobotany can create meaningful forums and opportunities for conscious individuals to sojourn among Indigenous peoples and allow for deep truths to be learned. For more information read The New Ethnobotany in Grupo Osanimi's Report (www.rainforestconservationprojects.org)

• How Sentient Experientials serves as a rainforest and cultural heritage conservation tool and how participants can get involved.


• Colonization and its many social, mental and ecological implications; the collision of the ancient world with the modern; the inside story of the petroleum invasion and its ecological and social consequences; the situation that Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon currently face, including territorial and cultural erosion; and the causes and consequences of deforestation.

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1 photocopy of photo/info page in your passport
Health insurance-evacuation policy number
We suggest you bring only US Dollars in cash or traveler’s checks; when traveling in the jungle, bring cash.
Note: Postal money orders or personal checks are not valid in Ecuador

Airlines permit passengers to check in 2 bags, weighing 70 lbs. each. In addition, 1 to 2 carry-on shoulder bags. Sentient Experientials will provide you with porter service. Anything you wish to not take back with your home, you can give to your group leader who will donate to the families in need.
Sentient Experientials is providing porter service (horses and/or staff) to assist you with your gear

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CLOTHES for Quito

Quito is cool in the evening so bring a jacket, a sweater and a pair of jeans or cotton pants, socks and/or tights, flannel or long-johns sleepwear, sandals and walking shoes. Average daytime temperature is in the 60's F (16 C); average night time temperature is in the low 50's F (10 C). It may rain.
Please note: Because of Quito's high-altitude and dry climate, we suggest you bring chapstick for your lips that may get dry.


Lightweight fabrics wash and dry easier in the rainforest; appropriate for chilly nights and daytime tropical jungle heat
No camouflage (military) patterns

• Bathing suit (respecting cultural sensitivities, no skinny dipping, please )

• Footwear:
Rubber boots or lightweight quick dry hiking boots; or knee-high rubber boots can be bought for about $30 for size 11 (43) or less; if you wear size 11 / 43 – please bring your own
Sandals: waterproof; not leather
Sneakers: an old pair (one that you may have in the back of your closet)

• One special outfit for special cultural events; refrain from dark colors, red, or busy, bright, tie-dyed designs; white and pastel colors are appropriate; women can bring a skirt and/or dress (rayon, quick-dry, lightweight)

• Pants: 2-3 pairs; long, loose, fast-drying, light-weight; rayon/cotton

• Rain Poncho: lightweight

• Shirts: 2 or 3 long sleeves; lightweight, cotton/rayon; sweat outfits and/or flannel for cool jungle evenings

• Shorts: 2-3 pairs; quick-dry, light-weight

• Skirts and/or dresses: rayon, quick-dry, light-weight

• Sleepwear: lightweight, thermal, flannel, long-johns, or sweats

• Socks: 3 to 5 pairs

• Sun/Rain hat: lightweight, foldable; visor, baseball cap or straw hat

• T-Shirts and/or tank tops: 3 to 5; lightweight


• Backpack or Duffel Bag

• Biodegradable toiletries: bath soap, natural toothpaste, dental floss, sanitary needs (washable sponges or washable pads are sold at health food stores), sunscreen, sunblock, natural shampoo and conditioner. We recommend Dr. Bronner's liquid all-purpose soap for everything-- teeth, body, hair, and clothes!

• Day Pack for diurnal and nocturnal rainforest trekking

• Camera and/or Polaroid with Film: Fuji color or Fuji chrome 200; Kodak Tmax 400 black and white work very well for forest shots

• Camera batteries - plus extras

• Citronella candles and soap - to distract visiting mosquitoes

• Dictionary/phrase book - bilingual (Spanish - your language)

• Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries

• Garbage plastic bags (4-6)

• Gomasio: a combination of sesame seeds and sea salt; effectively picks up one's energy during the heat of the day; can be purchased at a health food store or made at home

• Ground Tarp: 4 feet x 7 feet plastic for under your tent

• Hanging your hammock will need: 2 simple caribiners - cost about $5 each; and 20 feet of strap (or webbing)

• Journal and writing tool(s); art paper & drawing tools

• Mosquito net & mosquito repellent

• Pocket Knife

• Personal first aid

• Sleeping bag liner, light sleeping bag, or lightweight blanket. Wool/cotton blankets can be purchased in Ecuador for US$15 to $30

• Sleeping pad

• Stuff sacks

• Sunglasses

• Sunscreen

• Tarp: plastic; 10x12 or 16x20 (with grommets) and 50 feet of inexpensive nylon rope about 5 millimeters thick (to use as an extended roof off from your tent and/or a ground cover)

• Tent: lightweight, portable

• Toiletries: toothbrush, comb, hair brush

• Towels - 2

• Twine: one roll

• Water Bottle

• Ziplock bags - a variety of sizes to protect, just about everything from moisture


• Aromatic essential oils

• Bandannas or handkerchiefs (to replace paper tissues)

• Bed Sheet (to go with a blanket); not needed if you bring a light sleeping bag and/or a sleeping bag liner

• Binoculars

• Camp Chair (or a 'ThermaRest' attachment to your sleeping pad)

• Cigarette Lighters: 3 - 4, even if you don't smoke

• Clothesline: static, 20 ft., nylon

• Magnifying Glass: to amplify intricate details seen on hikes

• Map of the South American Star Sky chart; contact Audubon Society for their "Field Guide to the Sky"

• Mess kit (a camping set of plate, bowl, cup, and utensils)

• Musical Instruments: portable and small

• Pillow: 'Thermarest' pillows can be purchased at camping stores

• Sewing Kit

• Tape-recorder: pocket size with extra batteries, and blank tape cassettes

• Telescope: portable and small

• Trail mix and/or energy bars or nuts if you have high metabolism

• Thermos

• Tree Climbing gear: static rope, 200 ft, 10 mm thick, harness, ascenders, descenders, figure 8's, webbing and carabiners

• Umbrella: useful for sun and rain

• Water purification tablets or water filter

• White Sage smudge sticks

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Please Note: The transition to the jungle environment is not easy or immediate, even if you may be a well-seasoned traveler. We recommend that you prepare yourself ahead of time and bring some simple western and/or traditional remedies to assist your body in this change.

Although no shots are needed to enter Ecuador, the following is recommended by the American Medical Association:
- Tetanus and polio booster
- Hepatitis A - preventative or vaccine
- Typhoid - oral
- Yellow Fever Vaccination

The risk of getting malaria is very low in the area we will be staying. Mosquitoes are not that common at our location. Yet bring a good and environmentally-safe mosquito repellent.

Taking Larium - mefloquine, 250 mg - is also a preventive. If you want to sleep outside of your tent, you can buy mosquito netting in Ecuador (cost about $10). If you are especially sensitive to mosquitoes, consider wearing light long-sleeve clothing.

Malaria Prophylactics: Although there is a low occurrence of malaria in the region we travel to, we recommend that all participants take the following malaria prophylactic - Larium (mefloquine, 250 mg). One pill is taken one week before departure into the rainforest, then one pill for each week in the rainforest, and four pills for four following weeks. Drink with a full glass of water and food. Six Larium pills for 12 days in the jungle is sufficient. However, please consult your physician for proper dosage and indications.

Past Participants have told us they found complimentary remedies to Larium, such as, Lomatium, Olive Leaf Extract Avlocor, Paludrine. One recent participant recommends eating local honey ('local' meaning within a mile from your home) for health maintenance. Another suggestion is a homeopathic malaria prophylactic, in pill or liquid form, which you can order from BOIRON, Tel. (800) 876-0066.

Please Note: Larium is not advised for anyone with a history of mental health problems. For updated information on tropical diseases, contact The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Telephone: (404) 332-4555

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Important: For your benefit, no matter how "seasoned" a traveler you are, we recommend that you prepare for this journey.

Past participants taking Nutri-biotic Grape Fruit Seed Capsules, Vitamin B12, Acidophilus, Goldenseal and Vitamin C report that these have assisted their health significantly.

Nutri-biotic Grape Fruit Seed Capsules, (not the tablets nor the liquid form) is designed to enhance your immune system; it contains Artemisia, an anti-malarial ingredient; available at most health food stores; please read instructions. Or, to order, contact Nutribiotic Company (707) 263-0411 to find out what location close to your home you can purchase. The Canadian broker is EcoTrend Products, Tel. (604) 876-0466.

Vitamin B12- has the reputation of repelling mosquitoes

Acidophilus capsules - helps to digest new foods

Vitamin C - about 1,000 - 2,000 mg. daily

Goldenseal - a bitter herb that protects the body in new environments

A Note on the Local Micro-organisms
We guarantee quality food and juices in the spirit of health, hygiene and sanitary service throughout the journey. Nevertheless, it is important to be always prepared for any unforeseen occurrence, especially for those who have never traveled to South America. Although the region we will be visiting has a low disease occurrence, by just traveling into a new environment, we will expose ourselves to new micro-organisms. For those participants who eat healthy foods on a daily basis, your body will act differently in the Amazon in contrast to how it works at home. However, on our past journeys we are proud to say that we have had no major illness and only minor and temporary discomforts.

We have a first aid kit for the group with homeopathic remedies and some allopathic first aid. However, the following is a suggestion of additional items that may be useful for you to consider bringing. These can be purchased at most health foods stores around the world and/or at a wilderness camping store.

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- Mosquito Repellents - "Jungle Juice" or any natural alternative; Avon Skin-So-Soft is an effective 'folk medicine' for repelling mosquitoes; to prevent itching, ask for a lemon in the jungle kitchen and rub the affected area

- Personal medications, if any

- Aloe Vera Gel - for sensitive skin; good to rub on after a sunny day

- Aconite - a homeopathic remedy - excellent for onset of any physical upset; internal tablets

- Arnica - a homeopathic remedy - for bruises, sprains, reduces swelling; internal tablets and/or external ointment

- Band-aids and moleskins

- Blue Green Algae - as a nutritional supplement

- Calendula - a homeopathic remedy - ointment for minor wounds and mosquito bites

- Cranberry capsules - for kidney maintenance

- Echinachea-Goldenseal tincture or gelatin capsules - excellent for general immune system and or infections

- General Vitamins with minerals as a dietary, daily supplement

- Milk Thistle capsules - for liver maintenance

- Rescue Remedy - a Bach Flower remedy for sensitive travelers; internal

- Tea Tree Oil - a natural topical antiseptic

- Vitamin C - 500 mgs. - preferably chewable

- Vitamin E - for internal or external use for your skin

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The more you prime yourself with background, the more you will receive from this experience in the jungle. Knowing some elementary conversation in Spanish may be helpful. Moreover, despite your own travel experience(s), we hope you come with a "beginner's mind." The following preparation list is a priority as we see it.

• Continue your personal development
• Have elementary swimming skills
• Know elementary conversational Spanish
• Maintain a physical fitness program

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Breaking Open the Head – chapter 22: My Shamanic Vacation, Daniel Pinchbeck

Deep Ecology for the 21st Century (Unabridged Audio Edition/New Dimensions Radio Presentation) by Paul Ehrlich, Gary Snyder, Joanna Macy, Fritjof Capra, David Suzuki, George Sessions, Winona LaDuke, Bill Devall, Jerry Mander, Edward O. Wilson, Dave Foreman, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Theodore Roszak, Stephanie Mills, Edward Abbey, et al. Arne Naess (Author)

Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline, Richard Evans Schultes and Siri von Reis

Neotropical Rainforest Mammals, Louise H. Emmons

One River, Wade Davis

Requiem por los Espejos y los Tigres: Una Aproximación a la Literatura y Lengua Secoyas. Payaguaje, Alfredo, Miller-Weisberger, Jonathon

Running the Amazon, Joe Kane

Salud y Vida: Familiaricémonos con Nuestra Cultura. Una Guia de Revalorización Cultural para los Jóvenes Siecopai Sobre la Herencia Ethnobotanica del Pueblo Secoya. Libreta publicado 1999 por Jonathon Miller-Weisberger.

Savages. Joe Kane

Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing, Michael Taussig

The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, Jeremy Narby

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, David Abram

The Three Halves of Ino Moxo, Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon, César Calvo, translated from original Spanish by Kenneth A. Symington

The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, Fritjof Capra

The Yajé Letters, Allan Ginsberg and William Burroughs

Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America, Adrian Forsyth & Kenneth Miyata

Useful Plants of the Siona and Secoya Indians of Eastern Ecuador, Vickers, W.T., Plowman, T. Fieldiana Botany No. 15. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.

World as Lover, World as Self, Joanna Macy

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Sentient Experientials Registration Administrator in California
Dahlia K. Miller - Tel: (510) 235-4313

Thank you for networking this Event!

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Secoya Photo Gallery

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