To survive in the jungle requires a tremendous amount of knowledge, built up over centuries and passed mother to daughter, father to son. You need to know which plants are edible, or can be used as dyes or poisons, where particular birds gather and at what time of day, which parts of the river are safe. The more you know the easier it is to survive and even thrive in this place.
So many people got in touch, on this site, on Facebook, in phone calls and emails. We have been inundated with offers of help and support, from as far afield as New Zealand, South Africa and Japan. We'd be deafened if we could hear all of the prayers that have been said, if love were liquid we'd be drowning.
My guess is that you and I have been gripped by this question for many years, revolving it through our lives as our circumstances change, as our proioritires change, as we evaluate who we are and what we do.
Its easy to cope with life when everything is going right. When the bills are paid, our health is good, relationships are nourishing and the sun is shining, its easy to call that “good,” even “magic,” and celebrate that we are on the right track. But how do we cope when circumstances aren’t so rosy and life looks “bad?” How do we deal with challenging times? And for us, Sand and Jon, those times came recently.
I first thought Vision Quest was an endurance test, with enough personal willpower and determination I could survive it. I quickly learned it is far from a solitary endeavour - you can only survive on the hill with the support and prayers of a dedicated community of supporters.
Just as every step of this journey has seemed to be guided, frequently surprising us with what it reveals (Peru? kapok?), we are finding connections and opportunities revealing themselves time after time. Over coffee Pablo mentions a woman he met at a symposium down at the coast - we might try talking to her. Enter Rocio and husband Mario, already well-established organizers for community-based agriculture in Manabi province and experienced farmers of, you guessed it, kapok. Mario even taught me how he hauls himself up a tree . . . .
I'd followed the narrow path up the mountain, meandering at first between the small, angled plots on which the local people were growing corn, passing through grassy slopes admiring the lush greens and bright flowers that surrounded me. Then the path steepened and began to zig-zag, picking out an invisible route between the towering buttresses protecting the mountain's top. My pace slowed, until I finally reached the top after 4 hours of hard work and sat to lunch on boiled eggs and potatoes.