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Solo Dios Sabe Si Vuelvo – By Julian Medicina “Sacred Wisdom Collective”

Solo Dios Sabe Si Vuelvo – By Julian Medicina “Sacred Wisdom Collective”

A rare find here. Stay tuned for more from this artist.

Part of HUGS Project The Sacred Wisdom Collective is to preserve the  sacred music of cultures around the world. This is a medicine song, or sound healing from a indigenous group from North America. These songs are used in ceremonies using Peyote and other entheogenic plant medicines as prayers for connecting with nature, healing and various other forms of energy work within the prayer.

Song By Julian Medicina

For More Sacred Wisdom: patreon.com/hugs.world

Check Out The Sacred Wisdom Collective Project

 

What is open source charity?

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What is open source charity?

 

“The Red Cross had $500 million in Haitian relief money, but it built just 6 houses.”

 

 

Problems

  • Corruption amongst non-profits
  • Lack of transparency amongst Corporations and Charities
  • Poor success rate with humanitarian crowd funding 
  • Many great ideas and solutions, lack of funding and cooperation
  • Failing Monetary system

Solutions

  • Transparency
  • Creating a network uniting projects, experts, patrons, and fun!
  • Funding for humanitarian projects using crowd source and grants
  • New ways to give, new ways to receive
  • Creating new forms of currency (Sharing economy)

Many people today would agree there is an inherent problem and stigma with the current functioning of the popular Charities that are considered house hold names. Many receive vast amounts of currency, while their owners take vast sums of money as their salaries, and the companies themselves have little to show for the money that they receive.  With the vast array of technologies and solutions that are available to us currently, we see no reason why many of the problems we are currently facing as a planet and a species should not be solved by this point. 
Our proposed solution to this issue is to not only change the way a charity functions, but how people donate and interact with a charity as well.  With the current corruption and inherent distrust these days with the current baking and loan systems, crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing are becoming more and more the economic infrastructure of the future.  We propose to integrate this style of platform into our charity.

The Network.

soil_food_web

“Networks restore “granularity” to the postcapitalist project. That is, they can be the basis of a non-market system that replicates itself, which does not need to be created afresh every morning on the computer screen of a commissar.” Paul Mason ( The end of capitalism has begun )

Due to the ease of website and social network creation these days HUGS has been able to establish an online interactive forum with relevant groups, live interactive chat, blog updates, video updates, and a web based woo-commerce platform for online business. Due to the power provided by these amazing tools, a number of creative solutions to various problems have been developed.

Transparency 

HUGS mission is to be as transparent as possible regarding our accountability with where all the money and funding is going within its projects and in the organization including the salaries of its employees, and related business costs.
Utilizing modern technology, people who donate can observe updates on where their money is going via blog, forum, and video updates posted by the people working on the projects. Since users on the network will even have their own profiles, direct and on-going communication will be encouraged within the international community . People can feel good knowing and seeing where their money is going, how the project is coming along and when the project is successfully completed and ready to be shared with the world.

Projects funding.

hugs monkey project
Anyone from around the world is allowed and encouraged to submit their humanitarian based project to HUGS. The project then gets reviewed by the HUGS administrative team and if approved, then gets posted to the site. This project is now in place within the network in order to get the funding and technical assistance needed for success. HUGS will receives a nominal fee as benefit for being an intermediary and the funds will be allocated to support our mission of researching, unifying and sharing non violent solutions for global sustainability and well-being.

As the non-profit entity supporting this project, the fee will be a small percentage paid by the funded project in order to cover basic administrative and overhead fees. This fee is consistent with market competitors like kickstarter, go-fund-me, indigogo for example.

The HUGS board and staff currently covers cost of living, marketing, operational expenses, website development etc. completely out of pocket by the workers themselves.
To establish ourselves as the best choice for projects looking for funding the project receives benefits that a normal crowd funding would not provide in these ways:
(a) The project would be placed into a network which is already inherently geared towards humanitarian and global sustainability projects.
(b) Because HUGS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, the project would then be eligible to receive grant funding. If HUGS grant writing team can locate grants in its database’s and connections related to the project then the project would have access to multiple revenue streams not just crowd funding and donations.
(c) With an international network represented in the forum, HUGS is already connected with experts in many different fields relative to these projects, and therefore, if a problem arises or a team needs to be assembled to investigate and resolve certain issues that may come up in the project, this can be facilitated directly in the HUGS website.

 

Forum

The forum will be advantageous to the success of our mission in many ways. First and foremost, it serves as a highly accessible international network. Being the nervous system of the  open source organization, users create a profile and can then interact with each other directly. The forum’s topics would be based around certain key areas relative to finding solutions to global issues.

To give a few examples:

Free and Alternative energies. 
Fabrics and Textiles 
Bio-Architecture
Food Production
Water cleaning and structuring
Permaculture/Reforestation
Holistic Health and Nutrition 
Spiritual Sciences 
Art and Creativity 
Indigenous Wisdoms

 

Many experts in theses areas would be brought in to share their knowledge and wisdom in their given field. People would come to know HUGS forums as a place they can trust for the best information and databases surrounding these types of “New Paradigm Wisdom” and “Open source education in the cloud”.

The much of the forum will remain free and open source. In effort to generate more economic contributions for the projects and growth of HUGS digital infrastructure, each forum will have a premium section for monthly donation contributors. Similar to crowd funding, this ensures that the people who want to donate monthly can extract some sort of value and return for their money. This will also provide our unique community with the opportunity to feel even more like the vital part of the community that they are. This also gives them much more incentive and reason to be in the forum interacting on a regular basis.

Membership Section.

A monthly membership base forum section will be created for each relative topic as the content and host is available. The donations will go to projects relative to the category and also to pay the incurred costs of the facilitators that are devoting their time and expertise to developing the content and keeping the forum up and running as efficiently as possible.

For example, the first section will be the HUGS healers section. A number of expert energy workers, and Holistic health professionals on the HUGS team will be localizing special services and content for this section.  These healers will be more available for one on one schooling and coaching for those interested in these professions. Special blog write-ups, videos and content will be created that only the donators will have direct access too.

Peer-Commerce Network

The woo-commerce webstore allows us to sell goods and services. This means that people on the HUGS team or those that would like to contribute their goods and services will have a merchant portal in which they can facilitate transactions. Those who wish to have a portion of their income go to a project or the community can choose to do so. This allows our supporters a creative new way of donating. An example is if a group of indigenous women have some hand made artisan fabrics for sale, these can be sold on the site, and the money is then transferred back to them both directly as well as to a project relevant to the needs of their community and family. The benefit of using our platform is that normally they can only sell their products in local markets which has a severely limited visibility and our platform makes them visible to a global audience as well as empower them to receive a fair price for their goods and services by providing direct to source economics.

Gamifying (New Currencies and Trade)

We are creating a sharing economy where by contributing as much or as little as someone is interested that they can get involved, assist others, or benefit themselves. While one person may be interested at contributing their content or relevant experiences via a blog. Another may just want to gain some points by sharing on a social network.

By incorporating the gamify feature into the website HUGS can issue value based points that can later be exchanged for goods or services from HUGS or from other users in the network that are participating.

 

 

Following Your Intuition Part 3

School in session

Update #3

Some of you have been waiting for the new blog and It’s not for a lack of things to talk about that I’ve been waiting, I simply haven’t felt like writing. We lost the use of our camera (phone) we brought with us and until it’s replaced we will have to rely on the borrowing of friends cameras (thank you to Tom for loaning us his iPhone for the time being).

Things are up and down for me out here…
I came here on intuition which means that I have no clue what the next day will bring or how any of it fits together. It’s within me to give my life meaning and it is within me to find joy or sorrow in that meaning. I must admit that on the days where I perceive little has been accomplished, I worry that maybe my intuition is broken and I must “do something” to correct it…

 

My senses are bombarded when I look at the huge sky and multicolored flowers everywhere, my ears strain to translate this beautiful language and I feel exhausted after only a couple hours of interacting with my supremely positive housemates. If another person were to share these insights with me I would shout “What a high-quality problem you have!”, in the experiencing of it I must admit I struggle to take it all in.

 

The school house

 

A few days ago Christina and I said yes to helping out at a school house being prepared and the word “painting” was used in an unexpected way. We arrived early in the morning with Rebecca and were handed two bags and a shovel. Confused but eager, we followed our host down a path to a hole behind a barbed-wire fence. There was nothing but rocks and red clay on the other side and we were instructed to dig up the clay and put it in the bag… Fresh with morning energy I attacked the clay only to find it had rained the day before and it was hard to get a foothold. Whenever I took a step, I sunk my shoes deeper and deeper into the muck. I would not be undone- I filled my bag about half way before I checked for weight… OMG! This half-full bag must have weighed about 100lbs and I could only move it a couple steps before I had to drop it.

 

Qechu

 

 I finally got it through the barbed-wire fence, I he-manned it the rest of the way over my head and with only 20 minutes into our adventure I was covered head to toe in muck and leaking sweat like I had just gone for a jog in saran wrap! The “painting” part came soon after- the red clay was mixed with sand and water to form some kind of plaster and we applied it with our hands to the outside of the school walls. I learned a few things about natural clay that day and a little something about mental preparation 🙂

 

Inti

 

I think this is a good time to temper the ass whooping I received at the school with what brings me joy every single day and that’s the animals around the house. Two of the housemates, Tom and Danielle, came with animals- two puppies and a kitten to be exact (Inti, Qechu and Scree)! The puppies spend most of their time sleeping but wake up just long enough to eat and fight each other like two drunk babies. The kitten on the other hand is mostly a blur but stops long enough to headbutt your leg if you have any food.

 

We received a visitor a few days ago when a tall, skinny Frenchman showed up at our door and asked to stay. He had just come out of the jungle where he spent 6 weeks following a strict dieta and he was dizzy and confused. Nobody was quite sure how he found his way to us but strange occurrences are the norm here. This interesting tri-lingual (French, English, Spanish) fellow peaked my curiosity so I inquired as to what he was doing in the jungle and how he arrived in this place (there seems to be a common thread when you listen to how we all found each other).

 

Scree

 

 Alexandre explained that he felt compelled to leave France to explore different parts of the world learning about permaculture. He has a passion for inner knowing that was cultivated through Vipassanā meditation techniques. When he first came to Peru, a close friend took him to an Ayahuasca ceremony and he’s been following the instructions of a Shaman since then. He isn’t allowed to shower in cold water or walk in the rain right now and he arrived with cockroaches falling out of his bags. This “jungle hobo” has showed us how to improve our Aquaponics system and he makes the most interesting food stuffs out of foraged plants from the  neighborhood.

 

 

San Roque

 

Future Aquaponics station in San Roque

 

This week, there was a trip to the jungle town of San Roque, where Dave is in talks with the mayor and believes this is the perfect spot to implement his master plan. Utilizing the water surrounding the town to bring hydro-electric power to the town for free while creating a giant aquaponics system (this is already partially completed). Implementing a better recycling program that entices the locals to exchange their waste for “credits” that can be used to buy things locally, he then takes the bio-waste to create a rich, fertile soil called Bokashi and non bio-waste gets packed into plastic bottles that are then used as bricks for building… FULL recycling.

The reason he picked this town is because the fresh water that runs down the mountain side is the head water supply not just for this town but continues all the way to where we are in Tarapoto. Dave would like San Roque to be a shining example of what is possible in the new paradigm and this is just the beginning!

Following your intuition part 2

Planting Seeds
First, we are no longer staying at the hostel, we have officially moved in to Mission I’m Possible headquarters and we are welcome here for the rest of our stay (3 months)! The head-honcho Dave Stewart is a force to be reckoned with and his partner Rebecca (who speaks very little English) keeps us striving to learn Spanish, constantly engaging in conversation. Not only am I learning Spanish out of necessity but I’m also becoming more animated and clever with my gestures when words fail me.

 

Dave refuses to charge us rent, instead suggested that we donate what we think is fair to one of his many projects. Christina and I are on a shoe string budget so this form of barter was a blessing. We negotiated S/.1200 (roughly $600.00 CAD) to improve the water “situation” at the headquarters and to set up our bedroom.

 

 

It’s important to mention here that the city water only comes on in the morning before 9am and again later in the evening. This water is okay to use for washing clothes, showers, cleaning and dishes, but is not for drinking (for that they collect rain water which was stored in a couple of 20 gallon jugs). With the money we donated, we were able to buy a 750 gallon tank (replacing his 250 gallon one) for the storage of city water which means even when the place is full with 6 people we will be able to have water ALL DAY!!

 

 

Not only that, but we are going to use the 250 gallon tank for the rain water and attach a filter to that as well. As a bonus, we were able to attach the toilet (before this we used a bucket to fill the toilet tank), washing machine and even install a second shower (outdoor head soaker)! I had zero plumbing skills but I tried my best to be a helpful assistant as there is never a shortage of things to do.

 

The living conditions are SO different from home, it’s much more open concept- where most of us would have a hallway, my place has open sky and a garden. If it’s raining I can open my bedroom door and get splashed! Some would look at this place and call it a hovel and could be right- the roof is made of metal sheets, there are bugs everywhere and you can’t drink the water out of the tap- but the things that get done here are game changers.
 (yes that is a puppy sleeping on the table)

 

Rebecca has created a school here for the local children to learn traditional crafts, gardening and even some English. A lot of these children are left alone (or with relatives) during the day by their parents when they go to work, so this provides them with some projects to focus on and they certainly seem to enjoy all of it. I didn’t think I would enjoy having a bunch of kids around but they are polite, upbeat and enjoy practicing English with us.

 

 

 

Seeds are being planted in our garden but they’re also being planted in the streets. I see the roots reaching our neighbors and their children and I can only imagine what kind of beautiful flowers will bloom!
When we first arrived here there was this little boy, Bernardo- he’s much younger than the other children (maybe 2 years old)- he never smiled or laughed. I was told his home life was abusive and I recognized distrust in his eyes whenever I smiled and said “Ola”. Yesterday Dave grabbed him by the arms and swung him out in front of himself as he walked to the bathroom and he started laughing! Rebecca bought him a tiny plastic truck (Dave reprimanded her as he detests cheap plastic trinkets), she smiled at me and said “Bernardo!” and gestured a huge grin with her fingers and winked. Bernardo had that truck in his hand all day, playing in the dirt! Dave was right, it is a tiny plastic piece of crap, and if it puts a smile on Bernardo’s face… it’s gold.

MONKEY BUSINESS IN PERU!!!

Cerelias Project-Monkey Rescue with Orlando and MIP PERU

 

Update from Dani

My second day here in Tarapoto I arrived at the Peru office of Mission I’m Possible (MIP) and saw the tiny model of the Dry Toilet. This dry toilet designed by Dave Stewart of MIP, would be used as a model to be replicated at multiple projects around the Jungle here in Peru. But first to be installed at the monkey rescue named Cerelias Project. A project here in the Amazon that would serve as a testing ground for a number of these types of technologies.

The system includes: a rain collection tank, shower, sink, toilet, dry compost and biodigestor, complete with biochar. This system is not only sustainable but it actually fertilizes your garden and the biochar acts as a filter also cleansing the Earth. The design is very comprehensive and easy to assemble, as we need it to be so other people can replicate it, especially in remote locations, where it is difficult to get tools and resources.
This will liberate those who are currently dependent on the city water (which is only turned on twice a day from 6am-9am and again at 6pm-9pm). And we are in the RAINFOREST! Why don’t these people have these everywhere already??? I mean really why are they paying the city to provide them with water when they could just collect the water that falls on their property.

We started construction of this model a month later in the front of the house here, gathering lots of attention from the local Peruvians wondering what the gringos are doing, cut the wood, painted the toilet (complete with an ancient design from Chisuta), prepared the tubing, made the biochar, took it down, packed it up and found our first location; a monkey rescue in Cerelias.

Dry Toilet Contstruction

Orlando is a selfless man living with the rescued monkeys deep in the jungle. He lives without electricity, running water, and there aren’t any stores or food sources anywhere close. He has a small structure where he sleeps and cooks and he just put up some netting around it with some kindergarten scissors so now the monkeys won’t steal his things. He used to have a monkey that would steal his favorite cucharitas (very tiny spoons essential for putting sugar in coffee 🙂 and a different monkey would bring them back. So needless to say, he lives in a pretty rustic situation. Luckily he does have the river at the bottom of his hill and he goes into town for a few hours once a month to get his food and any other supplies. The land he lives on used to be an area back in the Cocaine days of the 1980’s. Back then the people grew so much coca and they ate the monkeys, specifically the black spider monkeys. The government decided to be very aggressive in trying to end the drug war so they fumigated all the known coca locations. Unfortunately this killed many other things besides the coca and contaminated the land and rivers. Because of this, the land was inhabitable for many years and there are no fruit trees left. Many other animals died as well from drinking the contaminated rivers.

So we have everything ready to go but how do we get it there? It’s about a 3 hour UPHILL hike on the way there and you cross the river, Rio Mayo, 14 times! Moto’s and cars won’t do. Helicopters? No, the path is too remote and no where to land or drop the materials. Horses? They can’t cross the rivers and some parts of the path are way too tricky. We asked the local police and they couldn’t help. Last ditch effort was to ask the government if their army could help. Come to find out they have a special branch in their army called the Eco-Guerrillas (Eco-warriors specially dedicated to protect the jungle). They agreed to have 40 men help trek the materials out to the location. With 40 men it was still going to be two trips EACH with all the stuff. This was an excellent solution and we were really excited to get there. We scheduled for them to pick up the materials the next Saturday and we would go ourselves to assemble it the following week. Saturday comes and it rains hard so nobody could go anywhere. This river grows very fast and even with only a half hour of heavy rain it is not passable. We had to reschedule about 4 or 5 times due to the rain. When the Eco Guerrillas were finally able to go, they had gone down in number from 40 men to 12 men. They were amazing and some of them did double trips in just one day! They took most of the materials there and now it was our turn to go out and assemble.

As usual and to be expected here in Peru, we rescheduled our trip at least 5 times. There’s seven of us: Tom and I (from USA), Dave (England), Rebeca (Columbia), Christina and Trevor (Canada) and Alejandro (France). We pack food, clothes, tools, headlamps, and first aid kits. We leave at 7:00am taking three mototaxi’s to Cordillera Escalera which is about 20 minutes away. This is the entrance to the preservation center, an area of 150,000 hectares of protected land. Marienith is there waiting for us with a monkey. The monkey is not supposed to be here and we are trying to get him back to the animal rescue center. He had followed a volunteer from Cerelias back to Tarapoto. After a few banana bites he starts following us through the jungle.

It is not long before we approach our first river crossing, maybe only ten minutes. We go down a few steps and have to cross a waterfall section with no rocks poking out to step on. I was feeling pretty confident at this point, as I got to the halfway point and was doing great. Then came my first stumble. There is a dip near the center and the water is rushing so fast that you can’t see where your feet are going. My ankle twisted and I fell on my knee. Good thing Tom was there catching me otherwise I would have just gone down the waterfall. This river was already commanding respect. I now realized that this is a pretty serious situation and that I need to be extremely careful and alert on this hike.

I make it across with a small scratch on my knee, the bottom of my backpack wet, and a little shook up, but otherwise ok. We continue our hike up hill stopping only once for a short rest. We cross the river 13 more times and the water was about waste high. The rocks are very slippery and some of the paths are very narrow. We saw some amazing plants, some brilliant red roots, gorgeous spider webs, colorful butterflies and a small poison frog that was yellow at the feet and faded to green and blue at the top with black lace-like design. We hear so many birds and the rushing sound of the powerful Rio Mayo is on loop.

After three hours we make it over the last river crossing. I see a shorter middle aged man with glasses and a green shirt ready to greet us near the middle of the hill. It’s Orlando and a volunteer. As we approach, the monkey that came with us back from Tarapoto recognizes the volunteer from before and goes to jump on him. We tried to get the monkey back for a while but he decided to follow the volunteer back again to Tarapoto as we continued our hike up to the Rescue area. These monkeys are really tricky to deal with and since they are not locked up or tied down, it can be difficult to keep them at the Rescue when people come and go.

We are greeted by at least 4 monkeys above us in the trees as we are entering the Rescue area. They are small capuchin monkeys, so curious and excited to have new people with them. Some jump on us as we make our way to the safe netted structure where we can leave our things. Quickly I realize that jewelry of any sort is not something I want to wear around these guys. I put my things down after prying three monkeys off me and quickly go back out to be with the monkeys. I’m super excited at this point and I see a cute black spider monkey making it’s way over to me from the trees. His name is Martino and he makes the cutest sounds like he is laughing the whole time. His hands are like suede and his face is more expressive than that of humans with the innocence of a toddler. I’m in love!!! I am now his personal jungle gym. The other monkeys come to me also with high curiosity, picking through my hair and nibbling everywhere. I start to wonder how we are going to get anything done because all I want to do is play with these babies!

I go inside to join the others for dinner and find four very small monkeys in the kitchen eating there fermented rice dinner. They look like a cross between a squirrel and a rat with white mustaches and cool brown, black and white design patterns on their bodies. They are pretty friendly and jump on our backs and when they are done eating the escape the house and back up the trees to the jungle.

Update From Tom

As you can see by the video. The entire trip was quite a bit of monkey business. It was a constant but playful battle trying to get all the work done with all the monkeys trying to play their games with us, while we worked hard to get the building erected in a reasonable amount of time, considering we were on a short supply of food and other rations. The monkeys were amazing, and taught us all so much, about getting back to the playful nature of life. Trevor at one point in the trip was quoted as saying that the monkeys in the trip, were all a metaphorical representation of all the monkeys on our backs, that have attached to us in main stream society. Tom then added that just like these monkeys as well, we can either fight with them to get them off, play with them and they will stay forever, or we can focus on the misson not giving them to much energy and they will play for a short time and run off to more entertaining things. Whatever path and option we may choose, the mokeys serve to teach us many things. Not always good or bad, but what you make it, a learning experience.

The way back was somewhat dangerous, as it is already somewhat a danger to cross a river 14 times. However this time it would start to rain pretty early on in the trip back. So not only would the rocks be more slippery, as we were carrying all our gear across this rushing river. But we would have to go fast, and race against the clock. Because if we didnt make it in time, the downpour would eventually build up to cause the river to be impassable. Then we would be stuck in the middle of the jungle, for up to even days, depending on the rain schedule. Luckily we had two locals to help guide us, and attend to any of us that were having troubles, or that may take a spill, which happened quite a few times…. The trip was beautiful none the less. We crossed the last time about 10 minutes before it would have been too late. The down pour ensued, and the river went so high that the bridge would be taken out again. The rest of our team who had to stay to finish up would be stuck for another 4 days due to the rain…. We were really just in the nick of time…. Stay tuned for our next adventures.

This first location (since completed successfully there will be contract 15 more) was in a remote spot deep in the jungle. We required 12 trained men to carry the heavy and bulky material.

We have since had to make a number of modifications to the original design, due to its very high amount of interaction with curious monkeys.

Following Your Intuition Part 4 Cerelias Project

Quick update and shout out: 

Wallet = gone. It happened, I’m over it, I still have my passport! I will be more diligent when wearing shorts with tiny pockets and riding in bumpy moto-taxis from now on.

Thank you Thank you Thank you to my mother who email transferred me some cash and took the sting out of the loss.

I promised monkeys and I came to deliver! 

Cerelias is an animal rescue reserve run by one amazing man named Orlando 8 km into the dense jungle, on the side of a mountain (that requires crossing the same river 14 times to get to). Referencing my previous experiences with rivers back home, I was imagining something mild (where the streams came up to my ankles) and maybe that some of the 14 crossings were just trickles. I put on my rubber boots and some knee high socks (which I stuffed my pant legs into for good measure) and thought to myself “no bugs, no water”.  The very first river crossing came up to our hips! Never mind that we were carrying a couple days worth of supplies and also some fairly heavy tools for the creation of the dry toilet that was to be installed. This 3 hour (mostly uphill) trip, was the single greatest hike I had ever encountered. What kept me going was that Christina (who sometimes cries about a ten min walk) and Dave (a 55 year old carrying an immense pack full of tools) were not complaining one bit.

I actually switched backpacks with Dave for the last half of the trip, not because he wanted me to, but because his companion Rebeca kept looking at me- then his backpack- and giving me “the look” (like “TAKE IT!”). I offered three times before he finally took a much needed break where I absconded it.

For those that don’t know me, I will share one of my traits: to find a personal lesson in just about everything I do. I had engorged myself on just about every survival and adventure show I could get my hands on over the years and one thing I heard over and over was PACK LIGHT! I stuffed my pack with just the basics and thought about how much easier I would have it. When I ended up with one of the heaviest packs, I at first reeled against the injustice of it all!

Then was reminded of another lesson that continues to pop up in my life over and over: “choose a challenge or challenge will choose you”. Life is a roller coaster with ups and downs and twists and turns. The only thing I have any control over is how I feel about it, so I reminded myself of these facts and stepped up to the plate. When we finally arrived at Cerelias, it was like a piece of heaven- a medium sized hut completely covered in netting and monkeys EVERYWHERE!

We were told there was going to be monkeys but I had no idea they congregated and lived on site. I was greeted immediately by a Capuchin named Francisco (rescued from a circus) who jumped on my shoulders and started picking through my hair in some kind of grooming ritual that was actually quite peaceful and surprisingly delicate.Our plan was to arrive, rest and then get some nice headway into the creation of this 2 story dry toilet on the first day. We began digging a 5 foot wide, 6 foot deep hole for the 1100 liter tank that would serve as a “biodigester” and four smaller holes for the wooden bathroom structure that was to be put up. Lunch (and dinner) was a hodge-podge stew of rice, beans, vegetables and spices- I noticed how much better food tasted when exhausted. The netting prevented the larger monkeys from entering the hut but tiny Tamarins were allowed in to check us out and eat. These tiny monkeys could be distinguished between male and female because the males had elaborate white mustaches 🙂

tiny monkeysSleeping arrangements were tight because there were 9 of us, while we had a tent to shield us from monkey droppings there was nothing really under us to shield us from the hard ground. When I got up in the morning I felt like a cranky old man and I wondered how much actual sleep was had (between the hard ground and the monkey chatter). The monkeys were very happy to see us again and everybody engaged in some playful monkey business, hanging off of our arms and jumping on shoulders.

Dig duty again and not one person was exempt from having monkeys randomly jump on their backs while working. It wasn’t uncommon to shovel twice, have a monkey jump on your head, move the monkey out of the pit, shovel twice, have a monkey jump on your back, and so on it went. Tools that were put down were quickly scooped up by curious monkeys and then bartered/coaxed back with bits of banana.

 I had an insight that these monkeys were the physical manifestation of the monkeys I carry on my own back from time to time.


I realized that instead of being annoyed by them (as I often am), I could choose to see them as playful and good-natured.  I also learned that healthy monkeys eat much more than just fruit like grubs and worms, frog eggs, termites and ants. We were informed that  inspectors had been by recently, this particular reserve was the only place where the monkeys didn’t have parasites. Caged primates are mostly fed fruit but without the other pieces to their diet  they get parasites.

I wish I could tell you we finished our project on that trip but we didn’t, the design and structure were flawless but we didn’t account for one important obstacle… MONKEYS! These curious animals stress test everything- plastic pipes get yanked on and broken, metal sheeting walls get pulled to their limit and come unattached- another trip is planned back out to install metal pipes and the whole structure must be covered in netting the same as the hut. The military and university students here have actually been a great help on this project and will do all the transporting of the materials (they have made over 80 trips in and out of this area so far). My adventures are always personal, there is no such thing as fail and I look forward to having those monkeys on my back again.

Dani with a 9 month old spider monkey