Health and Interculturality in Ecuadorian Amazon


May 2017

Internship by three medical students from Switzerland.

Alessia, Chiara, and Clara are third year students in medicine at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). They did an internship with Sacha Warmi Muskuy from May 15 to June 7, in order to observe how the Ecuadorian public health system is integrating interculturality in the services it offers to the public.

The students had the opportunity to spend approximately 10 days in the health center in Canelos, to visit and interview with the staff at the Health Center of Arajuno, as well as the Puyo Regional Hospital.

Some of the results of their observations and the data collected in the course of their internship were taken into account for the presentation of the first report to the Public Health Ministry regarding the progress of the Intercultural Health Initiative which has come to an end over the past six months.

Interview with the Director of the Arajuno Health Center about the “cultural delivery”


Inter-cultural Health Initiative

How far away… is intercultural health?! This is the title of the presentation by Didier at the Congress of Natural Medicine organized by the CYRAE
(Yachac Council of the Ecuadorian Amazonian Region) this past April. As can be seen in the attached document, much is still missing, from each side, in accomplishing a coming together between Western medicine and traditional medicine which might allow for a real dialogue and meeting between both forms of medicine… Read more.

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Completion of the project supported by the CEP-Flexible Fund - May 27

With the arrival at Centro Sacha Warmi of the group Kausachik from Arajuno on May 27, the last evaluation workshop was carried out and thus completed the project “Possibilities for development from personal culture with intercultural vision”, which has been completed during the last 10 months with the economic support of the Ecumenical Committee of Projects- Flexible Fund (Quito – Ecuador) and the Sacred Fire Foundation (USA). The completion of the addition of a 20 – minute audiovisual for recording the most important moments of this project is still pending, which is planned to be completed by September 2017.


Members from the group Kausachik during the evaluation workshop at the Centro Sacha Warmi


The children of Sewaya visit the medicinal garden - May 20-23

As part of the motivation for our last visit at the community of Sewaya, in order to follow up with the health project, it was coordinated with the school teacher so that the students could be acquainted with the medicinal garden and observe which species were planted there by Fanny and the community elders.

Jimmy and Ribaldo, communication technicians of the Ceibo Alliance, were filming and interviewing the children, their teacher and the present Director of Health of the Seikopai organization,Gilberto Piaguaje, during the visit to the medicinal garden of Sewaya.

Gilberto Piaguaje, Director of health of the Seikopai people, in the medicinal garden of Sewaya


April 2017

Open House at San Jacinto, April 23

Just as in Canelos, the women of the Shuyu Pakcha group organized their "Open House" on April 23 in the community of San Jacinto. In this way they could share with the rest of the community about the particular activities, which took place and the topics addressed during the six workshops and the succeeding activities that happened between August 2016 and April 2017.


The presentation at San Jacinto


Members of Shuyu Pakcha


Support for the Program of the Self-Practices of Ceibo Alliance

On the 16th and 17th of April, Didier and Rosa traveled to the Aguarico River (Sucumbíos province) to continue with the project in the community of Sewaya around the creation of the medicinal garden and the audiovisual documentation about the knowledge and use of medicinal plants of the Siekopai culture.
On 18 April, we traveled to the community of San Pablo, to continue with the process of the exchange of information and the raising of cultural awareness for the professional personnel who works at the Health Center of this other Siekopai community.


Rosa Canelos and Roberto Piaguaje in front of a Brunfelsia bush (Chiric caspi)


Congress of Natural Medicines, Archidona, April 12 – 13.

The Council of Yachac of the Ecuadorian Region (CYRAE) invited Sacha Warmi Muskuy to present about its work during the first Congress of Natural Medicine, which took place in Archidona from April 11 to April 15, 2017.
On the 12th, Didier made a presentation about Health and Interculturality; on the 13th, Rosa presented a demonstration about her experience in the preparation of improved natural remedies.
Many interesting presentations took place during the event regarding traditional medicine, for example, the technique of “vaporization”(steam bath) that the Kichwa women of Napo continue to utilize. (see photo below)

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Didier’s Conference


Kichwa traditional steam bath technic


Rosa Canelos sharing her experience


Open House in Canelos, April 9

After the workshop on oral traditions, the women of the Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna group organized the presentation of the results of the workshops carried out in the framework of the project “Possibilities of development from the one-self culture with intercultural vision”. It was presented under the “Open House" form, with presentations covering the topics approached during the activities that took place between August 2016 and April 2017: “Health and Traditional Medicine”, "Arts and Crafts", "Production and Nourishment". The day began at three in the morning with the ritual drinking of guayusa and ended with traditional music and dances. (see photos)


Serving Guayusa at 4 am


Tabaco juice ritual at 5am


Nettle cleansing at 5am


Traditional breakfast at 6am


Ceramic exposition


Traditional remedies demonstration


Presentation on traditional foodways


Clausure with traditional dances


Workshop on Oral Traditions in Canelos, on April 8

This new workshop brought to an end a series of six workshops and multiple follow-up activities between August 2016 and April 2017, with the group of Kuyan Kuyan Warmi Kuna women from Canelos. The objective was to allow each one of the women to “re-encounter her own voice”, through the story of her experience, thus reaffirming the fundamentals of self-esteem and authenticity. At the level of the group and the community the project, which aims to provide follow-up, proposes to create autonomous structures for re-collection and reflection regarding the memories and the culture, so that they can be more effectively preserved.

The workshop was enlivened by Anne Sibran, a French writer familiar with the Kichwa culture of Pastaza for a number of years, who just published her last novel in French titled “Enfance d’un chaman” (A Shaman’s Infancy).


The women’s circle with Anne Sibran during the workshop n oral traditions


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