Monday, March 12, 2012

THE CANADIAN EXPEDITION – THE VERY LOCAL AND INDIGENOUS EXPERIENCE – PART THREE

No doubt this day was one of the most important moments in my career, very special day for me and my guests. A Tour which was not really a tour, for me it was a lesson of life! When we travel, it is not only to see places, but I think the experience of feeling and understand other people's life is even more fascinating. This is what I really love in my work!!!

The chance to meet people, the chance to realize that it is not only me...the secret, the answer, the joy and the dreams are always something beyond...you can find in the look of a child, you can find in the love for others, you can simply find in the Nature!

Our last day...I was feeling a bit nostalgic to prepare the last day before we leave, that would be our 3rd day and the 4th day...The third day I had to prepare something light. We were supposed to have the 4 wheel drive experience in the jungle, but the huge storm in the previous day stopped us from doing it, that would be so incredible because the expedition would end in a wonderful fall that we would swim.

And the weather was so hot, it was high Summer that we were begging for a jump in the river. Lucky my canadian gropu had a remarkable swimming pool in the incredible jungle lodge.

As our 4x4 wheel drived was cancelled, my group was staying close to many indigenous reserve. So I was thinking, why not asking the native’s permission to visit their village, I mean, a tribe...YES!!! We were in the middle of a huge indegenous reserve called Iriapu.



As I like to think about plan A, our original plan, and PLAN B, PLAN C, PLAN D or even PLAN E. One day before with my driver I entered into our next door indigenous tribe and I spoke with the indian leader, his name is ARITANA (indigenous name) and I asked his permission to being my canadian group to visit them, telling that it would be a great opportunity to let other people visit and understand their reality, he tended to resit the idea, but I told them that my group would bring some money to help the tribe and I asked him to treat us as some family that simply want to make a visit but I reinforced that I wanted a genuine welcome and finally he agreed and we arranged the meeting for the next day.

And the day came...wow, I was happily meeting my group 10:00 am sharply and we walked through the dirt road headind the tribe, few minutes walking from La Cantera.

The tribe leader was wainting for us with his little children...what a glorious meeting, He introduced himself telling that for him and his family (about 60 families in there) it was a great moment to have us from different and faraway places – actually he does know what Canada is, and thanks to the proximity of Brazil, he knew what Brazil is and that I am a brazilian fellow...


There are people who believe they are not part of the Society...how can you think that our natives are not part of our identity...The indigenous influence in many parts of Misiones is clear as water and they are the owner of the forest...the name of the animals "cuati", "yaguareté", etc...Even the name of the Falls Y = WATER - GUAZU - Big. Pureness, simplycity and strengh for life, this is what I saw in this people and this is what I want to show to all my guests!!!

It makes me angry when I see that this people are forgotten, and they were to first to settle the land...as I see in my friend Mariano's T-shirt, the first case of illegal immigration in America was in 1492!!!!

Anyway, we went to some jungly paths where Aritana shown us some traps they use to hunt, and their hunting was just for living...game food is part of their main food plus some white roots called Manioc, this is the yuca or cassava that we know.


We went to their rough houses made with clay and haystack, we met the children...we were part of their daily life for some hours...

In the end in the tent they have their religion rituals...they celebrated our presence with guarani chants sang by GUARANI children and the main shaman (which was and old lady) gave us the blessing!!!


My passions in life are like this...being with people, understanding their lives...I love children and the innocense of their smiles...Children from Windsor Castle and children from Iriapu tribe are all the same...always kids ready to play and AS MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS SAY, I AM A BIG CHILD...So I was at home. I forgot that I was a tour leader and I turned into a GUARANI CURUMIM (childin their language)

SUPER UNIQUE, we made them special with our visit telling to the World that we care about native tribes clearly abandoned local authorities, and we felt special for being treated so greatly.

An experience of a life time, only possible with people like myself and all my associates in Puerto Iguazu who are committed with exploring the area with passion, curiosity and love!!!

I have to add that I had one of the best days in my life with this simple visit!


RAFAEL TORRES LOPES

Tour Guide and Travel Planner

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