I never conceptualized what the human body was able to do until visiting the indigenous Waorani tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon. My day began by feeling sick to my stomach. I was nervous, yet excited about what was to come as I’d be spending two nights in an Amazonian remote village with no electricity. As the tribe is known for spearing three white men in the 50’s, and wanting to be cut off from civilization, I was intrigued about how far the tribe progressed since then. Boarding the canoe, I was filled with mixed emotions. After the 2.5 hour long, wet, bumpy, and cold ride, we were greeted by the tribal president with paint wiped on our cheeks and noses. Later that night, we were taught the history and stories of the Waorani tribe as well as their practices.
Waking up the next morning, not wasting anytime we ate breakfast and began our hike to a “nearby” waterfall. “Nearby” in their language, WI am back I am backaotega, must mean something different as it took us roughly 3.5 hours through steep hills, mud, water, and the Amazonian wildlife to reach just the waterfall. Although it was treacherous hiking, the reward was fully worth it. Seeing the gushing falls was so relieving. We were able to swim in the pool and cool off with the tribal kids, it was amazing. I can now say that I have hiked and swam with a remote indigenous tribe through the Amazon.
The day ended with the tribe showing, and teaching us their celebratory dances for wedding ceremonies. For hours, in the hot, humid, Ecuadorian climate, we pranced in circles chanting their local language, laughing and messing around. After about two hours of this, we sat around a circle and shared a yuca fermented drink.
Although this two day trip was the longest 48 hours of my life, the memories I made along the way were to die for. I had the opportunity very few others have had in history. The Wourani tribe greeted us with open arms and accepted us into their culture while teaching us lessons along the way. I am incredibly thankful for everything those two days had taught me about the difference between my lifestyle and other lifestyles around the world.