Visit Amazon Rainforest and learn about Indigenous technology
Under the canopy of giant ceibas in the Amazon biome, learn about some of the technologies that Indigenous rainforest communities have developed to co-exist with their natural environment.
Connect with the rainforest with an overnight hike. Swim under a green waterfall and watch the stars light up the sky, as we set our tents for a night of fireside stories and mindful listening to the sounds of the rainforest.
What is technology? Are technologies always human-made? What is the purpose of technology? Challenge your views through Indigenous-led conversations and stories that question and complement our western ways of seeing the world.
WINTER READING WEEK
February 15-25, 2019 Amazon Region, Ecuador
Get ready for Amazon: Indigenous Technologies with six weeks of Community Engagement Training. Get to know your program team, learn about Archidona, Ecuador and AMUPAKIN and develop your skills in community engagement and project planning and assessment.
Training dates will be determined based on the program team’s academic schedule.
We travel together from Winnipeg to Quito—the capital city of Ecuador. Our journey starts there, with a guided walking-tour of the Centro Historico. We get our first taste of authentic South American cuisine, as we weave in and out of cathedrals, palaces and plazas where baroque and indigenous design elements coincide.
We cap off the day with a spectacular view of the sunset over the city and visit La Ronda for a cup of canelazo (a local warm drink made with cinnamon, orange peel, sugarcane and spices) and to enjoy some live music before returning to our hostel.
We begin to descend from the mountainous region of Quito, which sits at 2850m over the sea level, and into the Amazon rainforest. Don’t worry, we’ll take it slow and stop along the way to appreciate the changing ecological and cultural landscapes.
Our destination is the town of Archidona, where our program partners, AMUPAKIN, are located. Expect to be welcomed with a delicious meal made with wild-grown, organic foods and a celebration with the community. We’ll finish off the day with a quick dip in the river before heading to bed.
These 3 days will be an immersive course in Kichwa ways-of-being with an emphasis on learning about the natural technologies that these local indigenous communities have developed in harmony with the rainforest. AMUPAKIN has prepared hands-on learning workshops to share their knowledge of medicinal plants (recognition, uses and spiritual relating), natural-building (building structures and roofs), basic survival skills (finding food, water and shelter in the rainforest) and permaculture (applying the principles of chakra and organic farming).
After full days of working and learning with AMUPAKIN, we can expect evening outings to the waterfront in Tena and a night of salsa dancing at the open-air dance hall.
What a better way to practice the knowledge and skills we learned from AMUPAKIN than a 2-day hike into the heart of the rainforest? There’s definitely no wi-fi where we’re going. This is a challenging hike on trails that are maintained by the wanderings of animals and some humans, and require intimate knowledge of the land to navigate. The rainforest will challenge our bodies, minds and spirits but the rewards will be well-worth: swimming in a hidden waterfall at the top of an endless valley, a night of fireside stories under the stars, falling asleep to the lullabies of the Amazon and a misty sunrise over the rainforest canopy.
Our last day in the community will be spent honouring the knowledge, teachings and experiences that have been shared with us. It will be our turn to prepare a feast and host a night of games, laughter and music to celebrate the work of AMUPAKIN. The next day, on our way back to Quito, we'll stop at a volcanic hot springs site in the mountains. There’s no better way to restore our bodies before journeying back to Canada!
Get together one more time with your program team to reflect on your Reading Week experience. By this time, strangers have become like family, and it’s a good chance to talk over your growth with people who understand.
Amazon: Indigenous Technologies is offered in partnership AMUPAKIN, a collective of Kichwa women and youth who work to keep alive the knowledge of their land, culture and traditions, which has been passed on to them by their ancestors. Through this program, we’ll have the honour and opportunity to learn, hands-on, about some of these knowledges: plant-based medicine, natural-building, permaculture and basic survival skills!
*Your all-inclusive fee covers your return airfare, all in-country transportation and accommodations, three daily meals, pre-departure training and a contribution to your host community.
This program is 100% not for profit! Beyond your airfare and in-transit expenses, the remaining of your fee goes to support your host community with equipment, training, facility maintenance, wages and other resources that help them increase their sustainability.