January - May 2016

May 2016

Video: Health and Cultural Diversity in the Ecuadorian Amazon (14min.)

With the support of Simon Schwarz, a volunteer at the CSW, a video was created to convey a message about the current health situation among indigenous populations in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Likewise, it presents the proposal of the Sacha Warmi Center to address the difficulties of their improvement and to help build bridges of communication with the formal health system that would allow achieving true multiculturalism in health.



Thomas Bouchet, an anthropology student at the University of Lyon (France), participated in a 4-month internship at the Sacha Warmi Center. During his field work, Thomas sought to acquire a better understanding of the challenges of multiculturalism in health, based on the analysis of multiple dynamics that were observed between indigenous systems and Western systems of health and medicine. See your testimony...

Friends of Sacha Warmi (Friends of Sacha Warmi)

Friends of Sacha Warmi is the name of the non-profit organization that has been created in the United States, in order to seek financial, material and human resources to support programs and projects at the Sacha Warmi Center in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Marc Thibaut, the Executive Director visited us for 15 days to better understand local realities and to meet with members of the central team and visit some indigenous communities.

April 2016

First National Ethnobiology Conference

Rosa Canelos and Didier Lacaze were invited to share their experience at the first National Ethnobiology Conference held in Riobamba, capital of the Chimborazo province. Rosa presented “Florasana: 10 years promoting the biocultural diversity in Ecuadorian Amazonia“ and Didier “Actual situation of health and interculturality in the Amazon”. This was a valuable experience; reminding us that ethnobiology was initially developed to facilitate communication between the academic world and indigenous communities (D. Posey, 1983). Yet more need to be done for ethnobiology research to become effective tools that Indigenous communities can use to conceive their own research programs and develop solutions that effectively address environmental, health, educational and cultural issues.

Participation of Rosa and Didier in the First National Ethnobiology Conference in Riobamba

Workshop with the Pikenani on Health and ‘Buen Vivir’

Didier travelled to Queweriono (Napo), in Waorani territory, to participate in a workshop organized by the Fundación Ambiente y Sociedad (FAS), at the request of the Ministry of Economic and Social Integration (MIES). He presented a theoretical and practical framework that addresses the problematic of health, from the Waorani people’s perception. The president of the NAHUE, Moi Enomenga, was present. One of the propositions made at the end of the event was for a small group of young people and Pikenani (Waorani elders) to further discuss the benefits of reinstating the traditional knowledge transmission system between Pikenani and young people.

Gilberto translating in Waorani a conceptualization of indigenous health for the Pikenani meeting in Queweriono

Sionabai people visit the Sacha Warmi Center

At the request of the “Woman, Family and Community Program” of the Ceibo Alliance, Sacha Warmi Center welcomed the visit of Buena Vista community members (Rio Putumayo, Colombia), to support them with a training in a local sugarcane farm aimed at gaining knowledge in the artisanal production of brown sugar (panela). Roberto and Gustavo returned to their community to share their experience with the Buena Vista women group who are growing sugar cane and want to produce brown sugar or panela.

Roberto and Gustavo in the last phase of panela production

March 2016

Intercultural Health Model in the Siekopai Community of San Pablo (Rio Aguarico)

On March 16th Rosa Canelos and Didier Lacaze travelled to San Pablo, a Siekopai community, member of the Ceibo Alliance, to assess the possibility of initiating an intercultural health model with the community, as recommended in the Integral Attention Model of Family, Community and Intercultural Health (MAIS-FCI) of the MSP. They were welcomed by Colon Piaguaje, who has been working for many years as a nurse for the local Health Center, and his wife Fanny, who has in-depth knowledge of medicinal plants, as well as other health center staff members. The meeting was organized in coordination with the National Head of Intercultural Health and the Health District of Shushufindi.

Health center of San Pablo (Rio Aguarico)

Volunteers and interns

Laurence and Gael, two French volunteers spent two weeks at the center helping maintain the reforestation area with composting and mulching more than 300 native plants, castling a new layer of sawdust on the center’s paths. They assisted Rosa in elaborating different natural products made from medicinal plants. Gael, a French educator visited the schools of San Eusebio and San Francisco, to give a physical education class, while Laurence showed young boys and girls how to weave bracelets and necklaces with natural objects.

Laurence and Gael in the reforestation area

Sacha Warmi Center’s Team

On March 12 Didier, Rosa, Luis, Melida, Diana, along with Dominik and Thomas, met to discuss the current situation of SWC, programs and ongoing activities and future plans. Those present agreed to form the Warmi Sacha Center Team to support and strengthen SWC’s mission.

Diana, Luis, Melida, Rosa and Didier (Left to Right)

Creation of a guidebook for the Bio-cultural Garden

The Biocultural Garden’s main aim is to sensitize and educate non-indigenous populations about the importance of the relationship between people and plants, as well as Indigenous culture and values. We invite the region’s schools and colleges, health professionals and public institutions in particular. We have created a guide in Spanish, French and English, highlighting important aspects of about 45 plants, emphasizing cultural values and their health benefits.

Lila reading the story of the creation facing the Ceibo tree

International Woman’s Day

International Woman’s Day saw indigenous women from the Kichwa, Waorani, Zapara and Shuar nations marching in Puyo. They gathered to stress the important role women play in the struggle to preserve their traditional territories and recognize their legal rights. Rosa Canelos and her sister Juana participated in the event representing the women of Canelos.

Third Meeting with the Women of the Ceibo Alliance

Early March, Rosa and Didier traveled to the Third Forum of the Ceibo Alliance’s Woman Group, which took place in the Siona community of Buena Vista, on the Putumayo river (Colombia). We shared important information about the use of traditional medicinal plants while visiting the medicinal gardens of Buena Vista and San Jose de Wisuya. The event ended with Rosa sharing her expertise in making cough syrups, painkiller balms, soaps and shampoos using medicinal plants.

Rosa demonstrating the fabrication of analgesic Balm

February 2016

Visit of the National Head of Intercultural Health of the Health Ministry (MSP)

Following up on a cooperation proposal sent earlier to the National Head of Intercultural Health (DNSI), a department of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health (MSP), we received the visit of Mrs. Paulina Jimenez, DNSI’s present director. She wished to better known Sacha Warmi Center and our capacity and to evaluate possibilities of cooperation with the MSP. We guided her next visit to Canelos, introducing her to community members. This important visit helped her forge her own opinion of the health challenges and living conditions of the Indigenous communities of the Amazon. We took advantage of her presence to visit the apamama (elder) Esperanza, a famous healer.

A view of the Rio Bobonanza from the Canelos bridge and the apamama Esperanza healing

Ceibo Alliance leaders visit our center

We received the visit of leaders of the Ceibo Alliance (Lago Agrio), with which Sacha Warmi Center has been collaborating since early 2015, supporting the “women, family and community” and “cultural practices” programs. This visit was important to allow the members of the Ceibo Alliance to better understand how Sacha Warmi Center can support their initiatives. Representatives of Clearwater, an NGO setting up filtration system in pollution affected area also participated in this gathering.

The leaders of the Alliance Ceibo and Clear Water accompanatist make a visit to see the Centre Sacha Warmi

January 2016

Volunteers and visitors

We are welcoming Thomas Bouchet, a student in anthropology from Lyon, France. His internship is lasting four months, from January 28th until the end of May. His focus is on researching the dynamics of interaction and coordination between traditional indigenous and conventional health systems. He is already making an impact on the center. He is reorganizing the library and video collection, sorting and documenting audio-visual files in anticipation of Simon’s arrival in mid-April. Simon will produce an audio-visual presentation about Sacha Warmi Center. Thomas is helping with updating and improving our website. Alongside Manolo and Dominik, he is maintaining the Biocultural Garden, clearing paths, seedling and harvesting plants and learning from Rosa how to process them.

Rosa and Thomas during a citronella’s distillation

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