Video in the Communities

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The strategies used to promote the recovery and consolidation of ancestral indigenous medicine in the Amazon, such as the training workshops for health promoters or the distribution of practical manuals and other didactic materials haven’t always given the results we hoped for. In our search for culturally pertinent alternatives, audio-visual technologies and communication systems have demonstrated to be a good adaptation to oral traditions and other ways of teaching through direct contact and demonstration. Furthermore, many communities have now access to computers, internet, television channels and DVD recorders.

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In indigenous populations, women are the ones paving the way with their interest in acquiring and conveying knowledge regarding the use of medicinal plants and the promotion of community health. However many of the young and older women remain illiterate, and therefore do not have access to written materials such as manuals, brochures, posters etc.
The “Video in the Communities” program constitutes another way of continuously supporting the recovery and promotion of traditional health knowledge and practices among indigenous communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Its main goal is to create audio-visual archives and documents on medicinal plants and health in general. This will allow the spread of knowledge and information on all forms of cultivation, harvesting, preparation and application of medicinal plants to efficiently fight the most common illnesses in the communities.
The program equally attempts to impact on the need to preserve species endangered by over-exploitation and/or disappearance.
The program “Video in the Communities” wants to get young indigenous people interested in learning how to handle filming material to record their own customs and traditions related to health, and train them to use techniques to plan, edit as well as diffuse their work.
Watch the videos on Vimeo:

Edited Materials:
Plants for Health (Spanish)

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A series of 3 videos were made to show interested young indigenous people how to record their knowledge and use of medicinal plants.
Medicinal resources are within reaching distance. These are plants, which grow in our own gardens and tropical forests. They can help us solve our health problems, such as respiratory problems, digestive problems and intestinal parasites, among others. Let’s learn to recognise, cultivate, prepare and use these remedies.

Plantas para enfermedades diarreicas: Guayaba” ( 5.45 min.).
Plantas para afecciones respiratorias (13 min.)
Plantas para parásitos intestinales: Paico (7.30 min)

Canelos: Historia y Vida (Spanish)

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The principal aim of this video (22 min) was to send a message to the descendants of a group of Kichwa-Canelos who was taken by force by the Spanish slave trader Maximo Rodíguez, to extract rubber in the south-eastern forest of the Madre de Dios department in Peru, at the beginning of the 1900’s. This group of people never went back to Ecuador and settled to live in Madre de Dios, where their descendants still live today. The video shows some of the traditions and customs that are still practiced among the Kichwa-Canelos people, but that in time were lost by the communities living in Madre de Dios. The video was taken to the Puerto Arturo community (Madre de Dios, Peru) in 2010 and includes some comments from those who watched the video.

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Ayahuasca: Source of ancestral Amazonian medicinal knowledge (Spanish)

This 25 minutes documentary was made with the intention of making this important theme better known to the health professionals working in indigenous areas of the Ecuadorian Amazon. It is also aimed at the local non-indigenous population interested in health and traditional medicine. It is one of the tools made to encourage intercultural sensitization and education on the theme of health. By promoting a better understanding of the various ritual aspects of ayahuasca or yagé, we hope to contribute to making people more appreciative and respectful for its uses as an important traditional remedy.

Scientific Research and reinforcement of traditional medicine and intercultural health: Evaluating influences and potentials in Latin America.
This 12 minutes long video was made for the opening of the S25 session to which PROMETRA participated during the XIII Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, held from the 20th until the 25th of May 2012, in Montpellier (France).

Camari Ista

In December 2012 we sent a filming crew to the “Cari Ista”, Leader of the “Fiesta de les Lanzas” or “Fiesta del Niño” (Egiberto Vargas), which is held once a year in Canelos and represents one of the last traditional celebrations among the Kichwa nationality of Pastaza.
Duration: 25 mintues.
Filming: Heriberto Vargas, María Mayanchi, Luis Fernando Canelos
Edition: Luis Fernando Canelos

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Project coordinator: Luis Fernando Canelos
Luis Fernando Canelos Vargas is a young Kichwa from the Canelos community, located on the border of the Rio Bobonaza, in the Pastaza province. He is currently studying civil engineering at the University San Francisco in Quito. His brother, José Norberto has also been contributing to this project. We are hoping that other young Kichwa will soon become interested in the “Video in the Communities” project.

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