Frequently Asked Questions

Applying/Travel/Preparation:

  • How do I apply?

    You can find extensive info about our retreats, including availability, cost, and much more on our website here. 

    Just click “More Details” under the retreat you are interested in to learn more (cost, what’s included, schedule, availability, etc.).

    You may apply for any retreat by clicking “Book this retreat” in the top right of the page.

    Upon registration, you would complete a comprehensive medical questionnaire which gathers information regarding your health situation and allows us to assess whether we will be able to safely and effectively support you. 

    Once you complete the application, we will get back to you within one week at the most to confirm whether we can safely accommodate you.

    Please do not book any travel arrangements until we have reviewed and approved your application.

  • How long does the review process take?

    Once you send your application and medical questionnaire (included in the online registration process), we will review and confirm with you within a few days, one week at the most.

  • I’m taking some medications, how do I know if they are safe?

    The application process includes a comprehensive medical questionnaire which includes questions about any medications you are taking. We will review this and let you know if your medications are compatible with Ayahuasca and provide any guidelines for these medications that you must agree to before we approve your registration.

  • Is there any cost to apply?

    In order to apply, you have to provide your credit card info and your card is charged only $1 to apply. That $1 is refunded if your application is declined for any reason. 

    It is only if your application is approved after review that your card would be charged for the 50% deposit (or full payment if you are applying for a retreat starting within 6 weeks). 

    Therefore, it is important to only apply if you are committed and fully prepared to join the retreat as your card will be charged if your application is approved.

  • How does the waiting list work if the retreat is fully booked?

    When a space becomes available in a program, all members of the waitlist are notified simultaneously and the space is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. 

    It is difficult for us to say whether a space will open or not – we do occasionally receive cancellations, but the timing is unpredictable. Just keep an eye on your email for any notifications from us if you join a waitlist and be prepared to act quickly in order to secure a space. 

  • Do you offer discounts or scholarships?

    At this time, our scholarship resources are dedicated to Amazonian indigenous communities in the region of Peru where we operate. Outside of this, we are not currently able to offer discount/scholarship possibilities. Our revenue is directly reinvested to fund the operations of our non-profit work (www.chaikuni.org).

  • Where does my retreat tuition money go?

    The Temple of the Way of Light is a purpose-driven, socially responsible, conscious business that puts people and the planet before profit. The cornerstone of our work is ensuring we operate with authenticity, integrity, and impeccability with a central focus on reciprocating to the people and the land around us here in the Amazon.

    You can learn more about our conscious business model here.

  • Do you accept volunteers?

    At the moment, we do not have any work exchange or volunteer opportunities at the Temple. We do have a Residency Program, however we only open applications for this to past guests of our retreats as we have found it is best to first come to the Temple as a retreat guest and get to know our space before considering the possibility of any future relationship in a service capacity.

  • Where is the Temple located? 

    The Temple of the Way of Light is located in the Amazon basin, in the Loreto region of Peru, a few hours journey by bus, boat, and walk from the city of Iquitos. 

  • How do I get to the Temple?

    In order to come to the Temple you would need to fly into Iquitos International Airport. We recommend booking your flights for one day before and after the start and end date of your retreat to first allow yourself time to acclimatize to the environment and then allow yourself ample travel time and time to reintegrate into the “mainstream” world once the workshop has ended.

    **Please do not book flights or make any travel arrangements until your registration and medical information has been reviewed and you have been approved to attend a retreat.**

    Each retreat group will be picked up on the first morning of the retreat at a designated pickup location in central Iquitos by one of our staff members and then travel to the Temple together from there.  The group will be brought back into Iquitos after breakfast on the last morning of the retreat and will arrive in town by early afternoon (usually 2pm at the latest).

    The price of a Temple retreat includes transportation from the group pickup place in Iquitos to the Temple on the first morning of the retreat and transportation back to Iquitos on the last morning of the retreat. The price does not include any flights, hotel costs, or transportation to the group pickup on the first morning.

  • Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?

    Most citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, and most Latin American countries are issued a tourist visa free of charge upon arrival in Peru. Your passport needs to have at least 6 months before expiration upon arrival in Peru. Citizens of some countries do need to apply for and receive a  visa prior to coming to Peru. 

    Please check the specific requirements for your country online with the Peruvian Embassy to find out if anything is required beforehand or if you may obtain a visa onsite once you have entered Peru.

  • Are vaccinations required to come to Peru/the Temple?

    Vaccinations are not required for entry into Peru or to attend our retreats. Whether you receive vaccinations before traveling to the retreat is up to you and your doctor. Vaccinations are not contraindicated with Ayahuasca, we only advise receiving them with enough time for any side effects or adverse effects to dissipate before traveling to the retreat.

  • What about malaria?

    Although malaria is uncommon in our area, the active season is during the rainy season from December/January to May/June where the risk factor does increase. However, there have been some isolated cases at other times of year, so you do need to weigh the risks personally. The strain of malaria most common around Iquitos is vivax, which is usually easily treated for most healthy individuals with strain resistant antibiotics. 

    For those who want to take pharmaceutical anti-malarial medication, atovaquone/proguanil (common brand name: Malarone) shows no contraindications when taken in conjunction with Ayahuasca.

    Other common anti-malarials such as Lariam (Mefloquine) and Doxycycline have shown (sometimes extreme) adverse reactions with Ayahuasca and should be avoided if possible

The Temple/Our Retreats:

  • How many guests and staff participate in this retreat?

    Our retreats have a maximum of 23 guests with 4 Shipibo healers, 3 facilitators, and 2 assistants in each ceremony. Outside of ceremonies, there is additional support and a staff of over 50 people supporting onsite operations. 

  • What language is spoken in the retreat?

    Our retreats are facilitated in English and we require all participants to speak at least a conversational level of English in order to attend.

  • Are accommodations private or shared?

    All of our accommodations are private and each guest has their own accommodation (called a tambo) unless they request to share with a friend/loved one. The retreat cost is the same whether you have your own accommodation or share with someone. Each tambo comes with a bed (or 2 beds if you elect to share a tambo), a hammock, a desk, a toilet and a sink, along with 360° views and sounds of the rainforest. You can view photos of our accommodations here

  • Do you have Wi-Fi available, can I use my mobile phone?

    While Temple staff mobile phones in order to communicate with each other, we have a no mobile phone use policy in place for all guests of our retreats. Each guest agrees to this as part of the registration process. This policy is in place for the benefit of all retreat participants and comes at the request of the Shipibo healers. 

    Having ongoing concerns and communications with the outside world during a retreat can seriously hamper/interfere with the work done in ceremony and with Ayahuasca. You may give your loved ones our email address in case of emergencies (booking@templeofthewayoflight.org). 

    We have a solar system to power basic functions in our kitchens and for staff use. In order to support the inward journey of our guests, there is no electricity or Wi-Fi available to guests. If you have a device that will need charging, we recommend bringing extra batteries, a power bank, or solar charger with you.

  • Can I come for a private stay or individual ceremonies?

    All of our current offerings are 12-days in duration with 6 ceremonies. The Shipibo healers at the Temple have found this to be an ideal retreat length for a deep and effective connection with Ayahuasca. 

    At this time we don’t have plans for shorter retreats and we are not able to accommodate custom stay dates or private stays outside of our regularly scheduled retreats.

    The retreats are structured as a complete program, so arriving late or departing early wouldn’t allow the healers to complete their work with you. We also value the importance of the group container, in other words, we find that the healing experience is most effective for the group when they arrive together and leave together at the end of the retreat.

  • Is there laundry service available at the Temple?

    We provide a laundry service free of charge to all of our guests. Laundry is hand washed onsite and air-dried. It can take several days to get laundry dried when it is raining a lot. We provide linens and towels for each guest which are replaced and washed every few days.

  • Is it better to come alone or with my partner/spouse/friend/loved one?

    We have had many couples/friends/family members come to our retreats together. This is generally fine for people who are able and willing to give one another the space they may need during the retreat without needing to interfere in one another’s process. Doing a retreat together can be very positive for the relationship if it is approached skillfully and without unaddressed codependent tendencies.

    Other couples/friends/family members choose to come to retreats separately, recognizing that their relationship dynamic may make it difficult to participate in a retreat together. This is beneficial if the individuals recognize that they may be able to go deeper into their process if they participate in retreats separately.

  • Does the Temple give back to local communities?

    According to indigenous wisdom traditions across the planet, sharing is the key to maintaining a healthy, balanced life for all. We strongly recommend that people come to work with Ayahuasca with a clear understanding of the crucial importance of reciprocity. 

    Reciprocity enables us to complete the varying phases of healing that we pass through in life. Without reciprocity, there is no rebirthing cycle.

    Our non-profit, the Chaikuni Institute, is dedicated to supporting Amazonian indigenous communities with initiatives in permaculture, intercultural education, and human and nature rights. All excess revenues from our retreats are directed towards this valuable work. You can learn more here and here

Ayahuasca/Ceremony:

  • What is Ayahuasca?

    Ayahuasca is a medicine that has been used traditionally by indigenous cultures in the Amazon for likely thousands of years. Ayahuasca is made from two plants — the Ayahuasca vine (banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaf of the chakruna plant (psychotria viridis). Both plants are collected from the jungle to create a potent mixture that offers access to the realm of spirits and an energetic world that we are typically unable to perceive in our ordinary state of consciousness.

    In chemical terms, the leafy chacruna plant contains the powerful psychoactive dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which, by itself, is not orally active because it is metabolized by the stomach enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). However, certain chemicals within the Ayahuasca vine contain MAO inhibitors in the form of harmine compounds that result in a psychoactive compound with an identical chemical makeup to the organic tryptamines in our brains. This mixture circulates through the bloodstream into the brain, where it can trigger powerful visionary experiences and enable us to access our hidden, inner subconscious landscapes.

    For more information, see this page on ayahuasca shamanism and this page on the importance of respecting traditions.

  • Is Ayahuasca legal?

    Ayahuasca is legal and protected in Peru. The Temple of the Way of Light operates legally and is a fully licensed tourist lodge, complying with all regional and national government tourist company legislation.

  • Is Ayahuasca right for me and my medical condition?

    Ayahuasca works in a unique way with every person depending on the healing needed. This healing can be physical, emotional or spiritual and the medicine can address energetic blockages we have in our bodies to resolve these. 

    The indigenous Shipibo healers who hold the ceremonies at the Temple understand that all illnesses/ailments, whether physical or spiritual in nature, are rooted in spiritual or energetic imbalances. Their work in combination with Ayahuasca can address and heal the energetic patterns that underlie these conditions. 

    However, because individual circumstances vary so much, it is impossible to predict the depth and degree of healing. Certainly the deeper and more serious/chronic the condition, the more time would be needed to address it.  

    While the Temple of the Way of Light is a traditional Amazonian plant medicine healing center, we make no specific claims regarding the efficacy in treating any particular medical condition and we cannot make any guarantees that any certain level of healing will be achieved or any cure for a condition obtained.

    Our application process includes a comprehensive questionnaire that allows us to assess whether we can safely and effectively support you in our retreat.

  • How long does the effect of Ayahuasca last?

    The effects of Ayahuasca can last anywhere from a few hours to the whole night. The length of time a person feels the effects of Ayahuasca varies from person to person and from ceremony to ceremony. Even when the conscious effects have worn off, the medicine continues to work within the body and energetic fields in ways that are not always immediately perceptible. Ayahuasca is a medicine that works far beyond the level of conscious experience.

  • Can I drink Ayahuasca alone or in my own country?

    The Temple of the Way of light does not condone irresponsible, unsafe use of Ayahuasca. This includes drinking the medicine alone (without extensive experience and training beforehand), or participating in ceremonies held by people who do not have adequate training and experience. 

    Ayahuasca is an immensely powerful medicine that requires a team of experienced space holders and carriers of a deep lineage of understanding in order to provide a safe and beneficial experience. Ayahuasca can be at a minimum ineffective and in some cases very dangerous and harmful if it is approached casually and without the support of experienced space-holders.

    You can learn more about the importance of responsible ceremonies on our website here.

  • Is Ayahuasca safe?

    A pure Ayahuasca brew without admixtures (such as what we serve at the Temple) is virtually impossible to overdose with (it would take liters, while a single dose ranges from 20-80 ml). Ayahuasca, an MAO-I mixture, is pharmacologically contraindicated with certain medications and drugs and is potentially dangerous for those with certain psychological conditions and mental illnesses. We carefully screen each potential guest of our retreats to ensure that we can safely administer Ayahuasca to them in our retreats.

    Ayahuasca must be approached with respect and care. The Temple of the Way of Light has an impeccable safety record when serving Ayahuasca. In our 17+ years of offering this medicine to 12,000+ guests, we have not had any deaths or major medical emergencies as a result of serving Ayahuasca. 

    We carefully screen each person who applies to our retreats to ensure that Ayahuasca and the retreat environment we provide are appropriate and safe for that person. Safety is our number one priority. We are staffed by a well trained facilitation team with a high ratio of facilitators and Shipibo healers per guest in our retreats. 

    The healers we work with are chosen for their integrity and care for working with the highest concern and intention for healing. Our facilitators are all deeply experienced with Ayahuasca and plant medicine work themselves and with ongoing skill development through continuous staff training.

  • Why do people vomit or “purge” with Ayahuasca?

    With the initial work focused on cleansing and purifying your physical body to prepare you for the next stages, one quite reasonable expectation is that you will experience a physical and energetic detoxification in the form of purging (hence one name given to Ayahuasca, “La Purga”). 

    The purge can be an important part of the ceremony experience, yet not everyone purges in the first ceremonies or even at all. The purge usually takes the form of vomiting, but sometimes takes the form of diarrhea. It is an energetic release that can help to clear vibrational imprints and emotional blockages as well as physical toxins. 

    Many people purge in their initial ceremony experiences, and move into deeper experiences as these blockages are released. Other people experience the reverse: they do not purge early on but have cleansing purges in later experiences.

  • Is Ayahuasca addictive?

    Ayahuasca is not addictive. In fact, it is a medicine that can help to resolve the root causes of addiction.

  • Is Ayahuasca compatible with medications?

    Ayahuasca is contraindicated and potentially very dangerous in combination with or taken in close proximity to certain medications and drugs. We carefully screen each potential guest on our retreats for any contraindicated medication and drug use. We take every precaution to ensure the safest possible experience with Ayahuasca through our extensive screening process.

  • Is Ayahuasca a medicine or a drug?

    Ayahuasca has been used as a highly respected medicine in the Amazon for a very long time (likely at least thousands of years). We work with it with respect to the healing traditions from which it sprouted. Recreational drugs are generally substances that bring short term pleasure or relief but in the long term they provide no value and often cause more harm than good. 

    True medicine brings long term healing while the experience itself can be at times very difficult, blissful at other times, and everything in between. Ayahuasca is a true medicine when worked with in a conscious and responsible way. The Temple of the Way of Light is not a “tripping center,” we engage with plant medicines with one intention only: healing and awakening.

  • What is the Ayahuasca diet?

    The Ayahuasca diet involves a set of guidelines that have been developed by the indigenous groups who have been working with the medicine for many generations. The central aspects of the diet (often referred to as ‘dieta’) we follow at the Temple come directly from the Shipibo healers we work with and their collective centuries of experience. 

    The pre- and post- retreat guidelines we require are a simple reflection of practical experience that has led to an understanding of what works and what doesn’t, what is safe and what isn’t, with Ayahuasca and the energetic work of the Shipibo healers in ceremony. In many cases, the guidelines are also backed by scientific/pharmacological evidence.

    Many of the pre-retreat guidelines begin by 2 weeks before the retreat starts and they are in place until at least 2-4 weeks after the retreat concludes. Joining a retreat at the Temple requires a personal commitment to these guidelines for both your safety and your long term positive integration of your experience.

    For more information click here.

  • How many ceremonies should I have with Ayahuasca?

    All of our current offerings are 12-days in duration with 6 ceremonies. The Shipibo healers at the Temple have found this to be an ideal retreat length and number of ceremonies to ensure a deep and effective healing process and connection with Ayahuasca. 

    Our focus is deep healing on all levels wherever possible – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.  We work with a high ratio of Shipibo healers and facilitators per guest to ensure. Fundamental to the healing process in our retreats at the Temple is a high number of ceremonies to ensure that each guest has the opportunity to work very deeply with Ayahuasca and to ensure that our healers and the plants have sufficient time with each guest to carry out their work. 

    The process is deep and we are committed to effecting lasting change for our guests. The retreats are in effect a healing course that also initiates a longer term healing journey with the medicinal/master plants.

  • How do I become a Shaman? Do you offer apprenticeships?

    In the Shipibo and many other indigenous traditions that work with plant medicine, the path to becoming a skilled provider of and healer with these medicines involves a long period of apprenticeship with a teacher (maestro/maestra) and a significant period of time spent in isolation connecting with various master plant medicine teachers (called a master plant dieta). Consider it a form of medical school. 

    True Ayahuasca healers (onanya in Shipibo) have spent a very long period of time working with Ayahuasca and other master plants themselves and thus healing many of their own issues, this healing continues in the plant dietas which also become a form of learning. 

    All of the Shipibo onanya at the Temple have dieted and trained for a minimum of 5-10 years before receiving their teacher’s blessing to serve this sacred medicine. Most of them started drinking Ayahuasca at a very young age. We do not offer apprenticeships at the Temple, recognizing that we are not set up to host someone for 5-10 years in order to realistically train them for this work.

  • How long does it take to feel the effects of Ayahuasca?

    For most people, the effects of Ayahuasca are felt about 30 minutes to an hour after drinking. However, some people feel it almost immediately and others do not notice any effects until several hours after drinking. The timing of the onset of effects can also vary from ceremony to ceremony depending on the person’s personal process.

  • Is Ayahuasca compatible with antidepressants?

    Ayahuasca is not compatible with a variety of pharmaceutical medications including anti-depressant medications of the SSRI variety. Ayahuasca is an MAO-I (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) which is pharmacologically contraindicated with several types of medication. Additionally, the energies of many pharmaceutical medications can potentially block the effectiveness of Ayahuasca in ceremony. 

    Our application process includes a comprehensive medical questionnaire which allows us to determine if we can safely accommodate each person and the medications they are taking.

  • Will I see visions with Ayahuasca?

    While visions (any combination of light, color, and shape not perceptible in ordinary states of consciousness) are a common experience with Ayahuasca, not everyone has them. The amount of visions a person experiences or doesn’t experience when working with Ayahuasca has no correlation to the amount of healing or positive effect that person receives from the medicine. 

    While visions can sometimes be the grounds for profound experiences, many people have these experiences in the form of insights, somatic experiences, and emotional releases during the ceremony. The Temple of the Way of Light is not a “tripping” center. Our goal is to provide a safe and effective space for healing and awakening, with or without visions.

  • Who discovered Ayahuasca?

    It’s a mystery who learned to combine the two ingredients necessary for an Ayahuasca brew (ayahuasca vine and chakruna leaf). Individually, both plants are more or less inert. In the Amazon Rainforest there are approximately 80,000 cataloged leafy plant species, of which as many as 10,000 are vines. Neither the vine nor the leaf is especially distinguished in appearance. Yet the healers of the Amazon, acting as archaic psycho-pharmacologists, somehow knew how to use one particular species of vine and one particular species of leaf to make a psychoactive brew.

    There are many different creation stories told by indigenous groups about how Ayahuasca first came to be. For the most part, these stories involve some form of communication from the plants/spirits to the ancestors who were so closely connected to them. These communications would often come through in dreams, in the form of specific sets of instructions on how to locate the ingredients necessary and how to prepare them.

  • Where is the best place to try Ayahuasca?

    There is no shortage of places to drink Ayahuasca. There are ‘underground’ ceremonies happening all over the world. In Peru, where Ayahuasca is legal for medicinal use, there are a plethora of centers and people offering medicine, with new centers appearing seemingly every day. 

    The popularity of Ayahuasca has skyrocketed in recent years. Along with this surge in popularity, there unfortunately comes a dilution in the quality and intention behind those who offer this medicine. Many are in it for the potential of material gain. 

    Others are serving Ayahuasca from a true desire to assist others in their healing, but with an unfortunate lack of understanding of the healing process and sometimes a delusional belief that they can adequately and safely hold a ceremony without proper training from an established lineage and right intention.

    The Temple of the Way of Light has been creating a safe legitimate space for healing with Ayahuasca since 2007. Our ceremonies are held exclusively by tried and true Shipibo onanya who carry with them years of their own experience, backed by countless generations of indigenous wisdom. 

    Our facilitation and teaching team is composed of women and men who have done and continue to do their own “work” in healing and evolution. They all have extensive experience with Ayahuasca and other plants, and have a passion for witnessing and supporting others in their healing journey.

    Safe and effective healing with Ayahuasca is our primary concern. Our goal is to provide a space where each person who comes to us feels completely safe and is thus able to surrender and connect with Ayahuasca on a deep level. In our own experience, feeling safe and supported is the most important aspect of any ceremonial medicine offering, and unfortunately many centers are not able to provide this level of care. 

    We have a track record of providing this ever since 2007 and look forward to continuing to improve and exceed our own standard in the years to come, for the benefit of all beings.

  • Why is tobacco used with Ayahuasca?

    Tobacco is utilized as a sacred healing plant in the Americas and documented medicinal use predates the fabrication and consumption of commercial cigarettes by thousands of years.

    In many indigenous Amazonian traditions, tobacco (or ‘mapacho’) is considered a Master Plant and is given equal regard and importance as Ayahuasca. The qualities ascribed to tobacco in the healing and ceremonial context include energetic clearing, protection, alignment and grounding. 

    Tobacco is actively used by most Shipibo onanya during ceremonies for these qualities. The tobacco used in ceremonies is the Nicotiana Rustica variety which is very different to the strands used in commercial cigarettes (Virginia, Burley, Oriental).

    Unlike commercial cigarettes, the tobacco used in ceremony is pure tobacco leaf and does not contain any chemical additives.

Getting Here

The Temple of the Way of Light is located in the Amazon basin, in the Loreto region of Peru, a few hours journey by bus, boat, and hike from the city of Iquitos.
In order to come to the Temple you would need to fly into Iquitos International Airport in Iquitos, Peru. All flights to Iquitos are via Lima, Peru. We recommend booking your flights for one day before and after the start and end date of your retreat to first allow yourself time to acclimatize to the environment and then allow yourself ample travel time and time to reintegrate into the “mainstream” world once the retreat has ended.

**Please do not book flights or make any travel arrangements until your registration and medical information has been reviewed and you have been approved to attend a retreat.**

Each retreat group will be picked up on the first morning of the retreat at a designated pickup location in central Iquitos by one of our staff members and then travel to the Temple together from there. The group will be brought back into Iquitos after breakfast on the last morning of the retreat and will arrive in town by early afternoon (usually 2pm at the latest).

The price of a Temple retreat includes transportation from the group pickup place in Iquitos to the Temple on the first morning of the retreat and transportation back to Iquitos on the last morning of the retreat. The price does not include any flights, hotel costs, or transportation to the group pickup on the first morning
By Dates
By Program
  • 12 Days
    6 Ceremonies
    |
    $ 3,900

    Living in Alignment: Ayahuasca Healing Retreat

    The backbone of our work and regular retreat offering, providing an immersion in traditional Shipibo plant-spirit healing complemented with yoga classes, individual and group support, and powerful methods of self-inquiry.
  • 12 Days + 5 Days
    6 Ceremonies
    |
    $ 5,100

    Ayahuasca Healing Retreat + 5-Day Integration Retreat

    NEW OFFERING – a 12-Day ‘Living in Alignment’ Ayahuasca Healing Retreat with the opportunity to stay on at the Temple for a 5-day Integration Extension Retreat. Available in April, July, and October 2024.
  • 12 Days
    6 Ceremonies
    |
    $ 3,900

    Women’s Ayahuasca Healing Retreat

    For this retreat we will be working exclusively with female facilitators and female support staff. There is something very special that happens when a group of women come together to heal! To be held from April 16th to 27th, 2024 and November 26th to December 7th, 2024.
  • 12 Days
    6 Ceremonies
    |
    $ 3,900

    Queer Ayahuasca Retreat

    This special queer retreat will provide a safe, welcoming, and caring environment where participants can feel comfortable being who they are. Shipibo healing will be complemented with Compassionate Inquiry sessions. To be held from October 25th to November 5th, 2024.
  • 14 Days
    5 Ceremonies
    |
    $ 2,000

    Traditional Plant Dietas at Shipibo Rao

    We are honored to support Maestro Jose Lopez Sanchez and his healing center, Shipibo Rao. Maestro Jose runs 14-day dietas working in the Shipibo tradition.
    Visit Shipiborao's website to book
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