Aggiornamento: 26 mar 2020
An unexpected return, a privilege only for some of us.
The last adventure of my trip in Colombia was the Amazon, about which there is really a to tell, another planet earth, far from the system we live in, self-sufficient, slow, welcoming, generous. While I was there, the #coronavirus rules arrived, so they didn't let us enter Perú or Colombia, but we were hosted, overnight, entering through the jungle, by the Isla del Cacao community.
The adventure began in Leticia, the main city of the Colombian Amazon, where after spending 2 days at the Omshanty Jungle Lodge (www.hostelworld.com), explored the forest at night, swam in the Rio Tacana and met some wonderful travelers , I reached the Hipilandia hostel (hipilandia.com), which organizes Amazon tours far from the tourist circuits and which tries to compose groups of people with a good vibe and ready for adventure. In fact, our tour was one of the most daring in their history!
The first community we met was called Vergel where a mixture of the three indigenous tribes of this region lives: Ticuna, Giagua and Cocama. If you want to do ayahuasca, go and visit the Cocama, where you will meet the abuelo who will prepare you for at least two weeks, before letting you have this experience. He will invoke the spirits of some plants that he will use for your introduction to this ritual (I did not have the time to do it, due to #coronavirus, but next time with due calm I will surely come back here).
We left for Puerto Nariño, an eco-sustainable village in the Amazon, an example for the entire world, but arrived at the border, we were blocked. In fact, just that day a warning had arrived not to let any tourists pass through the indigenous communities, rightly so. But at that point we just had to go on and find a place to spend the night. After having traveled a long river surrounded by nature and crossed the jungle in the dark, we reached a community on the side of Perú that welcomed us. Our indigenous guides, Andrés y Rocky, Amazonian migrants, know these families very well because they lived as nomads going and learning from one community to another for many years. Ask for them if you go on this tour, because they are great and they will teach you a lot about their land. You will always feel that you can find a solution to any problem and you will learn by doing!
We prepared the Amazonian pizza with the casabe base (a tortilla made of pure yuca flour), mounted the hammocks, and spent a beautiful evening. When we woke up, the men gathered at the benches, talking and drinking a concoction of aguardiente (Colombian anise liqueur), excrement of bees and honey that should give them all the energy to resist the heat and the work day . Next to this scene there was a lady who prepared yuca flour, something I hoped to find on the road because I had seen people doing in an episode of the Netflix Chef's Table series (recommended by Chef Giu Pat).
We just had to go back to Leticia to avoid putting the communities at risk, and sailing the Amazon River, we arrived to the Vista Alegre community, where we put our base camp and then ventured after dinner in the jungle to build a roof for the rain, mount the hammocks and spend the night there, sleeping next to a lake where there where the caimanes (small crocodiles) and the jargon (the most damned poisonous snake in the forest), as well as swarms of terrible insects that flew on you while you were trying to tie a knot in the rain ... but apart from that, sleeping in the middle of the jungle, listening to all the strange animal sounds, expecting the arrival of a curious jaguar and waking up with the dawn lights entering through the green of the Amazon was absolutely magical. In the morning we went back to the village, we prepared the azai, the extract of a very particular fruit, ate the very strange fish, that we had caught, and saw an anaconda just before leaving.
That same day the engine broke in the middle of the Amazon River and we had to row with our hands to a very small community that helped us find another boat with their big and beautiful smiles.
Colombia started the total quarantine and closed the borders few days ago, and I went home, closer to family and friends (even if friends are everywhere as well as family), so as not to get stuck on the other side of the world and to have some more protection. I think about all the people who do not have this luck, who do not have a nice place to stay, for whom it changes little being here or there because they will always remain the last, if nothing comes out differently. And it is true that we must stay at home, but we must also do it in order to let those who suffer violence at home, those who do not have a home or those who do not have one worthy of it. The virus has already arrived in a community in the Brazilian Amazon and has already killed a woman. We cannot afford to endanger them, to impose on them the viruses of the globalized world and let them die, as during colonization. I do not know how some more messed-up countries will be able to face this crisis, despite the fact that, as well as in Italy, there are already many other chronic, social, economic and health problems that have always existed and which no government cares about. I exchanged completely opposite but sentimentally close life stories with these people. Who knows when we will meet again, now there are some new bridges that we have built together.