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Peru - Amazon


by Emiliana Gonzalez CHTP/I

From May 23-26 2005, I taught Level I Healing Touch to 23 native Shipiba-Coniva women from the Purivan Amazon jungle.  Noles, a nurse and Carmelite Sister from my Congregation who accompanies them, had this course with a lot of love and time.  In the first place she had given absolute preference to these women.  No one was admitted to the course if they weren't native women. 

I felt that the challenge was very great from the start, but even more so when I found out that the majority did not speak Spanish and we had to translate everything for them.  On the other hand, they live in the jungle in a very basic, traditional way.   Trying to relate these concepts to them would be very difficult since they had no frame of reference.  But we risked it. 

We managed to adapt ourselves to their reality: 

1) We scheduled the class for three and a half days so that they could practice and feel sure of the techniques before returning to their villages. 

2) We made only a general list for signing in instead of individualized registration forms.  They have no addresses, formal education, etc.

3) We asked each person to bring something that they had grown as their contribution to the course.  The majority brought plantians (bananas) or banana flour.  The rest of the cost was covered by a project that Loles had received from the Congregation.  

4) Evaluations were done orally by groups responding to key questions and directed by the translator. 

The women met in the state capital, Pucallpa, for a week of health care preparation (including Healing Touch) Human Rights issues, etc. 

They had great expectations for the course of Healing Touch.  In their villages, those who heal are the men.  It's a challenge for the women.  From the beginning they were valiant in accepting the invitation and arriving at the course. 

The women arrived early in the morning. sweating, with plantains on their heads and a big smile after several hours by boat on the river Ucayali, the only means of transportation.  Although the organizers had strongly insisted on not bringing children, we were accompanied by four babies under a year old (small enough to get situated in hammocks) and four children from three to six years old who knew how to respect the classes although they walked all around and through. 

For the duration of the course, the women paid strict attention with much interest and learned the practices very well.  The translator (their sewing teacher) was a leader who motivated them with fervor to put what they had learned to into practice.

The result was a stimulating and very interesting experience.  They left happy and they scheduled a meeting to practice.  We hope that they are doing the therapies in their communities and that soon they will ask us to schedule Level 2 since on their evaluations they wanted to learn more techniques and not repeat the same ones.  They knew what they wanted although we couldn't speak to each other. 

It is beautiful that the light of Healing Touch now sparkles in the Peruvian jungle.