Amazoniako oihanean / In the Amazon Jungle

Categories Ecuador

Note: Every article is written in basque and english. Scroll down to read the english version. And if you find any mistake, feel free to correct it.

Euskeraz

Bigal erreka inguruko erreserba biologikoa

( 2016/10/10 – 2016/10/14 )

http://bigalriverbiologicalreserve.org/en/

Quitotik sumendien ibilbidea zeharkatu eta Chimborazoko mendi garaiak pasa ondoren, oihaneko bizimodua ezagutu nahi det. Ecuador bezelako herrialde txiki batek duen biodibertsitate magikoak, kilometro gutxitan mota guztietako orografia ezberdinak ezagutzeko aukera eskeintzen du eta horrelako paradisoak ez dira nonnahi aurkitzen.

Chimborazotik Riobambara jeitsi eta egun bateko atsedenaldia hartu ondoren, Orellana eskualdean dagoen erreserba biologiko batean bolondres gisa proiektu batean parte hartzeko aukera suertatu zait. Thierry Garcia, jatorri euskalduneko frantses batekik jarri naiz harremanetan eta bizikleta Riobamban utzita, Quitora joan naiz, handik berarekin Loreto inguruko oihana ezagutzeko. 4×4 batean Loretora joan, harrizko pista bat zeharkatu eta ordubete beranduago Patriciorekin elkartu gera. Patricio 20 urteko gazte bat da eta eskola utzita bere gurasoen etxaldean egiten du lana. Ikasteko irrikitan dago baina inguruak ez dio laguntzen bere heziketa akademikoan aurrera egiten.

Erreserba naturalean, lanera dihoazten bolondresentzako banbuzko etxola bat eraikitzera goaz. Lanerako beharrezko tresnak bi behorren gainean jarri eta ordu bete luzez oihanean zehar ibili gera erreserbara iritsi arte. Han Patricio, bere anaia eta Thierryrekin, laurok lanean jardun gera 5 egunez etxola eraikitzen.

Inguruko baserritarrak, beraien lurrak hedatzeko helburuarekin, oihanean gero eta gehiago sartzen ari dira eta horrek bere harriskua du, eremu horietan, oihaneko erregea bizi bait da, jaguarra. Bere eskualdean animaliak sartu ezkero, hauek bere presa bilakatzen dira eta horrelaxe gertatzen ari da. Jaguarraren ohiko menura zaldiak, behiak eta txerriak gehitu dira. Honek izugarrizko iraultza piztu du baserritarren artean eta hildako animalien barnean pozoia jartzen hasi dira jaguarra hiltzeko asmoz. Orellanako gobernua ere gerturatu da arazoari irtebide egoki bat emateko. Jaguarrak hil edo beste norabaitera mugitzeko planak jarri dituzte mahai gainean. Jaguarrak ehizatuko dituen norbaiten bila ere ba omen dabiltza. Naturaren babesa eta bertako ekonomiaren arteko oreka aurkitzea ez da errexa, baino horrelako erreserba biologikoak eta Thierry bezelako jendeak naturaren babesa eta kontzientziazioa dute helburu nagusia. Besteak beste espezie ezberdinen monitorizazioa eginez eta deforestazioa ekiditeko kanpainak antolatuz.

 

Shiripunon Waoraniekin

2016/10/20 – 2016/10/27

Erreserba biologikoko esperientzia izugarri izan den arren, oihaneko bizia eta batez ere bertako komunitate indigenak ezagutu nahi ditut, baina ez nolanahiko komunitateak. Ez dut turistentzat antolatzen dituzten antzerkiak ikusi nahi, lumaz eta margoz mozorrotuak dantzan aritzen diren indigenak. Oihaneko benetako bizimodua ezagutu nahi dut. Batekin eta besteakin hitz egin ondoren, oihan sakoneko gida batekin harremanetan jarri nahiz aste betez Waorani komunitate batekin bizitzeko plana eginez.

Baños-etik Cocara autobus bat hartu, Cocan janaria, 240 litroko gasolina kupela erosi eta furgoneta batean, bi ordutara dagoen “Zona Intangible”-ra gerturatu naiz. Han Shiripuno erreka bazterreko zubi batean Otoworekin elkartu naiz. Otowo, Waorani bat da eta Shiripuno erreka jarraituz, zubitik kanoaz 10 bat ordutara bizi da. Errekak ur gutxi du eta bidaia normalean baino luzeagoa egiten da, gainera, Otoworen kanoako motorra gauean zehar matxuratu da eta arraunei eraginez, errekan behera, berriz ere bere etxera bueltatu behar izan du beste motor baten bila. Gau guztia, errekan gora eta behera ibili da bere familiarekin, euritan eta janik gabe. Hemen hasten da abentura, beraiek waoraniz hitz egiten dute eta Otoworen gaztelera, pelikuletako indioen tankerakoa da. Ondo hasi gera, ikeragarri gustatzen zait!

Hasiera batean bere aitaren komunitatera joateko asmoa genuen, baina erreka oso baxu dago eta “Tagaeri”-en (kontaktatu gabeak) eskualdea zeharkatu behar degu hara joateko. Horrek harrisku latza suposatzen du, beraiekin topatu ezkero, atsalde onak eman aurretik bostpasei lantza botatzen bait dituzte ongi etorria emateko. Harriskuak ekiditeko, gertuago geratzen den bere osabaren etxera joan gera. Moo (waoraniz) hostoz egindako etxolan sartu bezain laster, hortxe aurkitu det lehen sorpresa. Bere osabak ile luzea, begi bakarra eta belarriak zulatuak  ditu, ia biluzik ibiltzen da eta gazteleraz hitz bakar bat ere ez du egiten.

Familian giro goxoa dute, dena elkarbanatu eta su-inguruan berriketan orduak pasatzen dituzte. Ni ikus-entzule moduan nago, elkarrizketa guztiak waoraniz bait dira eta hiruzpalau hitz besterik ez bait dakizkit. Etorri berria den gringoari buruz hizketan ari dira, ez dut esaten dutena ulertzen, baina begiradak nahikoak dira hitz egiten ari direna sumatzeko. Arraro xamar sentitzen naizen arren, lehen eguna da, beste bost egun ditut aurretik.

Hurrengo goizean, 5:30-ak aldera jeiki , yuka, patakoiak eta arraultzeak gosaldu eta Otowo, Taremo eta hiruok ehizera joan gera. Bi lantza eta matxetea hartuta, kanoaz ordu betera dagoen puntu batera iritsi eta oihanean sartu gera. Ibiltzen hasi bezain laster, Otowo lurreko aztarnak begiratzen hasi da. Jaguarrak, tapirrak, basurdeak eta mota guztietako aztarnak topatzen ditu. Zuhaitzetan tximuak, tukanak, hartz perezosoak eta mota guztietako hegaztiak ikusi ditugu. Horrelako batean, bidexkatik sei bat metrora lur harrotu berria ikusten da.

“Armadillo, que hay un armadillo” Oihukatzen du Otowok. Bost urte pasa dira berak armadillo bat azkenik jan zuenetik eta hamar azkena ehizatu zuenetik. Oso kontentu dago, bere begiradan ageri da poza. Korrika gerturatu eta lur harrotuko zuloa handitzen hasi da. Matxetea hartuta, eskuekin, makilekin izugarrizko sasoiakin segituan handitu du zuloa eta armadilloa lurrazpian nola urrutzen den entzuten degu. Goraxeago beste zulo bat egiten hasi da, tunel horretan armadilloa harrapatu ahal izan dezagun.  Bera alde batetik eta Taremo eta ni bestetik. Izerditan blai gaude, azkar ibili behar gera gehiegi urrundu ez dadin. Horrelako batean, armadilloaren buztana ikusten degu. Nik badet eskalatzeko kordino bat nerekin eta korapilo bat eginez, buztanetik eusten degu armadilloa.  Armadilloak indar handiz erresistentzia egiten du baina Otowok lantza hartuta bere sabela zeharkatzen du. Tira bira batean, azkenik bere hanka eutsi eta estabilizatzea lortu degu. Armadilloak ez du eskapatzeko aukerarik. Ehizatzen dudan lehen aldia da.

Armadilloa lurpetik atera eta zuhaitz batean zintzilik utzita, ehizatzen jarraitu degu. 10 minutu ere ez dira pasa eta sekulako basurde usaia eta soinua entzuten degu. Basurde mota ezberdinak daude, batzuk bakarrik ibiltzen dira, beste batzuk bostnaka eta beste batzuk, 80 eta 300-eko taldeetan. Horrelako talde bat aurkitu degu. Ni aho zabalik nago, bapatean nere inguruan korrika 50 basurde inguru ikusten bait ditut. Ez dut berehala erreakzionatzen, baina horrelako batean eskutan dudan lantza nere indar guztiekin paretik pasatzen ari ziren basurdeengana bota dut. Baino huts egin dut, nere punteria eta ehizeko trebetasuna ez dira eta txapela kentzeko modukoak. Berriz ere lantzaren bila joaterako, basurdeak desagertu dira. Nere inguruan horrenbeste basurde izateak bazuen ordea bere azalpena. Taremo eta Otowo, kanpoko perimetrotik, basurdeak nereganatzen ari ziren, nik ehizatu ahal izan nezan. Armadilloa hartu eta etxera itzultzean, goizean zehar izandako abenturei buruz hizketan hasi dira. Denak neri begira daude parrezka, ez bait naiz basurdea ehizatzeko gai izan. Pentsatuko zuten ba, gringo kalekume honek ez du basurde bakar bat ehizatu.

Hurrengo egunak, pirañak eta  katu-arraiak arrantzatzen aritu gera. Dortoka arraultzak biltzen ditugu erreka bazterrean, amu bezela erabiltzeko. Gawa, Otoworen osabaren etxea atzean utzita, errekan behera jarraitu degu, gauak egurrez egindako kanpamenduetan pasaz.

Oihanean bizi diren Waoraniak ez dira ofizialki existitzen. Ez dute pasaporterik ezta osasun txartelik. Oihanetik bizi dira eta behar duten guztia oihanak ematen die. Egon daitekeen bulegorik handienean egiten dute lana. Zuhaitz, animali eta errekaz osatutako lantokia dute eta pozik bizi dira horrela. Aldiz, beraiek ere badituzte beraien beldur eta mehatxuak. Alde batetik petroleo enpresa handiak daude oihanean eta bestetik Tagaeriak, hauek ez dute kontaktatuak izan nahi eta beraiengana gerturatzen den edonorri, lepoa moztu edota lantzez erasotzen dituzte.

Otsailean, bere anaia emaztearekin etxerako bidean zihoala, erreka zuhaitz batek blokeatzen zuen eta kanoa lotu, motozerra hartu eta zuhaitz enborra moztu beharrean aurkitu zen aurrera jarraitu ahal izateko. Juxtu Tagaerien lurraldean zeuden. Motozerraren soinuarekin, ez zen inguruan gertatzen ari zenaz ohartzen. Momentu batean, zerbait bitxia sumatu zuen eta burua kanoaruntz itzultzean, bere emaztearen gorputza odoletan bi lantzez trabeskatuta aurkitu zuen. Miñemo, bere emaztea oraindik bizirik zegoela, senarrari alde egiteko eskatu zion eta hasiera batean alde egiten saiatu zen arren, ezin izan zuen emaztea horrela utzi eta korrika kanoaruntz gerturatzen ari zela, zazpi lantza bildu zituen. Miñemok bizirik jarraitzen zuen Tagaeriak beregana gerturatu zirenean. Ordurako senarra hila zegoen eta Tagaeriek Miñemo bizirik uztea erabaki zuten. Ez dakite ziur Miñemo nola iritsi zen Gawaren komunitatera, zortzi orduz errekan gora egin bait zuen odola isurtzen ari zitzaion bitartean. Berak kontatzen zuenez, Tagaeriek lagundu omen zuten bertara. Miñemo Shiripunoko zubira kanoaz gerturatu eta helikopteroz Quitora eraman zuten. Etzaiazue galdetu nola, baina Miñemo bizirik atera zen. Waoranien gorputza eta metabolismoa izugarri sendoak dira.

Sei egunez istorio honen xehetasunak jakin gabe,  Otowo eta Miñemorekin egon nintzen. Miñemok ez zuen hitz erdi bat egiten nerekin eta nik ez nuen nere lekua argi ikusten. Sabelean izugarrizko zauri arrastoa ikusi nion eta momentu horretan, arraroa iruditzen zitzaidan arren, zesarea bat zela pentsatu nuen.

Oihanak, errekak, zuhaitzak eta beraiek ere, beren biziarekin aurrera jarraitzen dute, elkartasunez, familia babestuz eta beraien komunitatea sustengatuz. Behar dutena baino besterik ez dute hartzen oihanetik eta irrifar handi batekin, umiltasunez eta zintzoki, momentua bizitzen dute, zein egun edo ordu den jakin gabe.

English

Bigal river biological reserve

( 2016/10/10 – 2016/10/14 )

http://bigalriverbiologicalreserve.org/en/

After crossing the volcanoes avenue and the Chimborazo´s high altitudes, I am looking forward to knowing the jungle´s lifestyle. The magical biodiversity of a small country like Ecuador, offers the opportunity to know every kind of orography and a paradise like this cannot be found anywhere.

I descend to Riobamba from Chimborazo´s refuge in order to have a rest, right after that, a new volunteering project opportunity come across into my way so I go to Orellana, to the Bigal River Biological Reserve. Leaving parked my bike in Riobamba I take a bus to Quito to meet Thierry Garcia, the coordinator of the reserve. He comes from France and he also has Basque origin. From Quito we travel with his 4×4 to Loreto, enter the jungle crossing a stone track and an hour later we meet Patricio. He is waiting for us with the mules. Patricio is a 20 years old guy who lives in the jungle with his parents and his brother. He had to leave aside his education in order to work in his parents little farm. He is looking forward to learning new things but his environment does not encourage him to go on in this path.

Our goal is to build a bamboo house for volunteers who come to work to the reserve. We load up all the needed tools and provisions on top of the mules and we walk about a long hour into the jungle until we reach the reserve. There, Patricio, his brother, Thierry and me have been working for 5 days building the handmade bamboo house.

In the nearby, the farmers, with the objective of expanding their lands, they are bursting into the jungle and of course, every action has a consequence. The king of the jungle, the jaguar, lives there. If anyone invades its territory, it becomes in its prey. And so it is happening. Horses, cows, pigs and other domestic animals start being part of the jaguar’s menu. This has provoked a huge revolution among the farmers and they try to kill the jaguar putting poison in the carcasses. The situation has become so serious that the Orellana’s government is taking matters into their own hands in order to find the best solution to the problem. Either they kill them, or they move them into another area of the jungle. Apparently they have already started searching for someone to hunt the jaguars.

It is not that easy to find a balance between the preservation of the nature and the local development. That’s the reason why a biological reserve such as the Bigal River and people like Thierry, are working very hard to preserve the nature and  raise awareness about the environment. Among other projects, they monitor species and organise campaigns to avoid the deforestation.

In the Shiripuno river with the Waoranies

( 2016/10/20 – 2016/10/27 )

Although the experience in the biological reserve has been awesome, I still want to know the real life in the jungle and specially the indigenous communities, but not any kind of communities. I do not want to be part of a fake theatre organised for tourists, making the indigenous up with feathers, paintings and folkloric dances. I want to know the real life in the jungle. After investigating and talking to many people, I got a contact of a real Waorani who lives in the jungle and can guide me through it, offering the chance to live with his family for a week.

I travel from Baños to Coca by bus, buy provisions, food, water and a 240 liters barrel of gas for the canoe and travel by van for two hours up to the forbidden area, the area of the non-contacted Tagaeri indigenous. Here, in the last part of the road, we bump into the Shiripuno river and there is a bridge where I know Otowo. He is a Waorani who lives 10 hours far from the bridge by canoe. The river water level is really low and the trip takes much longer than usual. In addition to the water level, in the way, Otowo’s canoe’s engine got damaged during the night and he had to go back rowing to his home for another engine. He and his family have been sailing the whole day and night alongside the river under the rain without even eating. All of them speak in Waorani and Otowo’s Spanish level is similar to the Indians from the Western films. The beginning looks like exciting, I really like it.

At the beginning we had the intention to go to Otowo’s father’s community. For that we would need to pass by Tagaeri’s land ( non-contacted indigenous) but the river level is too low, which slows down the canoe’s pace and it is recommended to pass this point as fast as possible. This means that the risk is too high. If the Tagaeris meet someone, instead of greeting with a warm hug, either they throw you several spears, or they cut your throat. Therefore, in order to avoid these kind of unnecessary risks, we go to his uncle’s community, which is closer and we don’t have to cross the Tagaery’s territory.

As soon as we enter the “Moo” leaf hut, I face up to my first impressions. Gawa, the uncle, has long hair, a single eye, big holes in his earlobes, he is almost naked and he doesn’t know a single word in Spanish.

Among the family members they have a strong bond, they share what they have and they spend the hours talking around the fire. They are talking in waorani and I only know a few words, so I am just an observer. Even if I don’t understand a single word, the cross of looks and the body language are more than enough to understand that they are talking about the newcomer gringo. At the beginning I feel a bit weird, but it is just the first day, there are another 5 days left.

Next morning, we get up around 5:30, we have breakfast with “yuka”, “patacones” and eggs and Otowo, Taremo and the three of us go hunting. Taking two spears and the machete, we sail an hour in the canoe down the river until we walk in the jungle. As soon as we start walking, Otowo starts analysing the footprints. He finds every king of footprints, such as jaguars, tapirs or wild boars. On the trees, we observe monkeys, toucans, sloths and all type of birds. Suddenly, some meters beyond the main trail, we find freshly removed soil.

“Armadillo, there is an armadillo!” Says Otowo loudly and totally excited. It is more than 5 years since he last ate an armadillo and more than 10 since he last hunted one. He is delighted, his gaze reflects his happiness. He runs towards the removed soil and starts digging into it, enlarging the hole in order to catch the armadillo. He digs with his hands, with the machete and with some sticks. At the same time, Taremo and I start digging a bit further in order to corner the armadillo. We have to dig really quickly because the armadillo is trying to escape and it is very strenuous, in the jungle is hot and humid and we are sweating hard.

After a while, we see the armadillo’s tail, I take a short climbing rope from my rucksack and we tie its tail. The armadillo is resisting strongly and Otowo throws a spear to its stomach. We keep on digging and we achieve tying his leg. There is no way back. This is my first hunting experience.

After taking the armadillo out from the hole, we hang it in a branch and we continue hunting. It has not even been ten minutes when we smell and listen wild boars. There are different breeds of wild boars. Some of them are solitaries, some others go in groups of five and some others in groups of 80 or even 300. The ones we come across are from the biggest group. From one second to another, I am surrounded by 50 wild boars. I’m shocked and it takes a few seconds for me to react. I wake up and I throw the  spear with all my might. But I fail. My aim and hunting experience are ridiculous. I run to catch the spear in order to throw again, but the wild boars are much faster than me and they disappear in the depth of the jungle. However, there was a logical explanation for the amount of wild boars that I was surrounded of. Taremo and Otowo were running in the outside perimeter of the group so as to direct the wild boars towards me. The hunting day is off, we take the armadillo and we go back to the hut. As soon as we arrive they start telling the morning adventure to the rest of the family and they start laughing while they look at me. I guess they are thinking that this gringo city guy is not even able to hunt a single wild boar among such a huge group.

We spend the rest of the days fishing piranhas and catfishes. From the river bank, we take turtle eggs to use them as bait because it helps a lot to attract fishes. Leaving behind Gawa’s hut, we continue sailing down in the river sleeping in the river bank in self-made wood camps.

The Waorani indigenous of the jungle do not exist officially. Neither have they a passport, nor health insurance. They live in the jungle and the jungle provides them all they need. They work in the biggest office ever. Their working environment is surrounded by trees, wild animals and rivers and they live really happy like this. In the contrary, they also have threatens and fears. On the one hand, the big oil companies are invading the jungle and, on the other hand, the Tagaeris. These ones do not want to be contacted by our civilization and anyone who approaches them, must face up to the most violent consequences. The Tagaeris cut the intruders throat, or they throw several spears to them.

In February, Otowo’s brother was sailing back home with his wife when they came across a big tree blocking the pass in the river. He parked the canoe in the bank of the river and he started cutting the trunk with a chainsaw to continue down in the river. They were exactly in the Tagaery territory. With the scrappy sound of the chainsaw he did not pay enough attention and he did not realize what was going on. He felt something weird and when he turned back towards the canoe,  he met his wife’s body pierced with two spears. While the wife was still alive, she asked her husband to run away immediately and safe his life. He started running away for some meters, but he made his mind up and went  back very quickly to his wife. He could not abandon her in that situation. Before he reached the canoe, seven spears pierced his body.

Miñemo, the wife, was still alive when the Tagaerys approached her, unfortunately the husband was already dead. The Tagaerys decided to leave Miñemo alive. Seriously wounded and bleeding hardly, she sailed around 8 hours until Gawa’s community. Still nobody knows how Miñemo could sail so long in that status. According to her, the Tagaerys helped her in the canoe almost to Gawa’s hut, but she was shocked and raving and her memories were too hazy. The family took her very fast to Shiripunos bridge in order to bring her to the closest hospital with an helicopter. Don’t ask me how, but Miñemo survived! Waorany’s body and metabolism is incredibly hard.

During six days, I was with Otowo and Miñemo without knowing that she was the victim of this horrible attack. It was not easy for me to talk to Miñemo, she is quite shy and I could not get closer to her. She had a huge scar in her belly and in that moment, even if it looked a bit weird, I thought it was a Caesarean section.

The jungle, the rivers, the trees and even the Waoranys, go on with their lives. With solidarity, protecting their families and supporting their community. They only take what they need from the jungle and with a big smile, humbly and nobly, they live the current moment, without having a single clue of the day or the current time.

Wáponi Otowo (thanks) for letting me enter your community and for sharing with me a completely different lifestyle and life philosophy. By far, sociologically, this has been the highlight experience I have ever lived.

Isaak Elduaien
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