A story about moving mountains from the Austrian Alps to the Peruvian Amazon

As you may know supporting people in difficult times is one of the reasons why we started this group a few weeks ago. It is especially important when you cannot physically be with a person.

Our friend @mayasuniherbalist saw herself being stuck in the mountains of Europe when she came to know how much her family, an indigenous tribe in the Peruvian Amazon mountains, were in need of help.

We spoke with her and learned so much about her passion to start a project and make the impossible possible whilst being miles apart. Here is a summary in interview format as we had multiple conversations over the phone.

  1. Where were you when lockdown started?

St Anton am Arlberg, Austria

2. You mentioned that Peru is your spiritual home. Can you share an early childhood memory growing up in a tribe?

Daily plunge from a tree trunk into our favourite lagoon until a mama anaconda decided it was an ideal new abode.

3. What do you think was it that made you start a campaign that almost seemed impossible to do?

Death of marginalised, forgotten people who are already at risk of disappearing and losing unique knowledge of their vision of the world and healing traditions. I also felt a profound and deep pain when I heard the plea to support the Amahuaca tribe. Only 400 members alive- my paternal grandmother was born in this tribe. They literally could have all died within weeks.

4. What impressed you the most when asking people to support the project?

People’s instant concern and generosity in an already troubled world.

5. You mentioned that you were lucky to have the support from a local Dr and Research Associate. How did you find her?

My childhood was spent sharing meals with anthropologists and NGOs working in the Peruvian Amazon. Through their connection and specifically John Beauclerk, chairman of the Anglo Peruvian society, he had immediate knowledge and contacts on the ground for us to act swiftly.

6. What do you think was a surprising result when it comes to nature and healing?

I have a masters degree in medical herbalism so it is not new to me to recognise that certain plants have chemical properties that are healing to the human body. Ultimately, humanity exists because of our long term use of plant remedies. The foundation of our current medicine started with natural plant compounds. In the context of Covid-19 it was challenging since indigenous people of the Amazon have very little or no immunity to the common cold and flu.

7. Can you share your findings from the last few months?

Personally, I have been so impressed by people’s willingness to help at so many different levels. My new found friendship with Dr Aoife Bennett, based on trust and our passion for the Amazon and its people, my friendship with the St Anton Pharmacist, Johanna Bano who listened to my stories on our dog walks and made a significant financial contribution on behalf of Pharmacy without Borders, Austria to buy medicines for the Shipibo — love the juxtaposition of a little mountain village surrounded by Alpine forests helped save lives in the forest of the Amazon. The importance of integrated medicine in an integrated world.

8. And the final question, are you a lover of sunrises or sunsets?

Sunrises I find rejuvenating and sunsets calming.

If you are curious about the project you can also read her story in the latest newsletter of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists @medherbalists

Or you can read the latest campaign updates via her gofundme page see the link in our bio and here https://gofund.me/90ffb9f8

Thank you so much @mayasuniherbalist for your time and sharing your story of moving mountains with us.

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We are friends who started an initiative with the goal to collect 1million hours and motivate people around us to spend time outside every single day.

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A & S (1millionhoursoutdoors)

We are friends who started an initiative with the goal to collect 1million hours and motivate people around us to spend time outside every single day.