Since we set the intention back in December 2020 to reopen the Temple in June 2021, we have been closely monitoring the global pandemic and national and international travel possibilities. There are currently flights available from most countries to Peru but many countries are still experiencing significant restrictions either flying into or upon return from Peru. Many regions of Peru are also continuing to experience a second wave of the virus, including the Ucayali (where our Shipibo healers come from) as well as many lockdowns still happening across the world.
In light of this current situation and in consultation with our team and medical advisors, we’ve made the decision to postpone our reopening until the end of August 2021 in order to ensure a safe experience for everyone involved.
Our intention is to reopen the Temple with a groundbreaking program of deep healing, individual transformation, personal mastery, and leadership development – a powerful synthesis of ancient Amazon healing traditions with pioneering ontological inquiry. This unique program has been designed for people who already have or show clear potential to have a widespread positive impact in the world. This by-application only retreat is designed for visionaries, entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators working specifically in the fields of individual & social transformation.
Emergency Fund for Shipibo Healers and Local Workers
If you are among those who are able to offer financial aid at this time, please remember our GlobalGiving fundraising campaign launched back in March last year, that supports the healers and local staff of the Temple, Niwe Rao Xobo, and Shipibo Rao – it has been very successful and is still going strong! We have received an overwhelming response with more than 1,700 donations over the course of the past year that have been critical in supporting the healers and local staff through these challenging times. They are deeply grateful to everyone who has supported them during the pandemic so far. As we need to postpone reopening again, donations are still crucial until we resume retreats and they would very much appreciate your continued support.
What We've Been Up To
What a year! Despite the suspension of all retreats at the Temple, we have small teams in and out of Peru who have still been working throughout the year. In addition to handling bookings for future retreats and general communications, we have been working on a new Temple website, which we hope to launch in the summer. We are also developing specialist healing programs; a 12-month change-makers program for business leaders, visionaries, and innovators, a war veterans program, and a program specifically for western medical practitioners. We plan to have details about these programs ready this summer as well.
Thanks to the support of a generous donor and an impact investor, we have also been able to move forwards with renovations at the Temple. The jungle began to take over our infrastructure since we have been in suspension and we have needed to either rebuild or repair many of our buildings. So far, we have rebuilt the dining room, are currently building a new house for the healers, and starting to renovate all of our guest tambos. We will soon be installing a new water and waste system for all buildings, eco-friendly biodigestors, and flushing toilets and running water in all guest accommodations. Our intention is to increase the level of comfort for everyone at the Temple while maintaining the rustic, "living in nature" experience, and the opportunity for our guests to truly disconnect from the modern world and immerse into the rhythms and energy of the rainforest.
We've also been working closely with our sister organization in Peru, the Chaikuni Institute, which is essentially a branch of the Temple. Despite not being able to financially support them ourselves since we suspended workshops in April 2020, we've had the opportunity to help in many other ways. And thanks to the generous support of many Temple guests and allies, we have been able to raise funds for several of Chaikuni's programs. One of the most important and inspiring projects has been to support the Association of Shipibo Healers (ASOMASHK) in Pucallpa with an initiative called "Onanyabo en Accion" (Shipibo healers - Onanyabo - in action); enabling Shipibo healers to travel to Shipibo communities to offer traditional healing for Shipibo people in need of medical attention. Sadly, the communities are not receiving support from regional or central government, and the health authorities have essentially abandoned indigenous communities and their needs throughout the pandemic.
We have also been sponsoring a Shipibo radio program that is focused on revitalizing and stimulating interest in traditional medicine amongst the Shipibo people, especially in urban areas, where many have succumbed to the subterfuge of evangelical missionaries and the largely ineffective substitution of plant medicines with western, pharmaceutical medications.
Chaikuni Institute has also continued work on the Ayni Ayahuasca Initiative, with demonstration sites rapidly growing both in the Temple grounds and in surrounding villages. We ran a 10-day Permaculture Training on Temple grounds back in March 2020, with 30 participants from four neighboring communities, indigenous students, and Shipibo representatives. The participants learned about and built a demonstration plot using a system called agrofloresta; a meticulously planned, highly diverse, and productive agroforestry system. Luckily, we finished the course just days before Peru imposed a strict lockdown, leaving three agroflorestas (two of them in the communities) installed and growing nicely over the last year.
In addition to three hectares of demonstration plots that have been created at the Temple, we have now supported the development of 15 hectares (150,000 m²) of food forests for 15 local families, with a goal to increase to 24 hectares for 24 families by the end of the year. Our long-term intention is to support hundreds of Amazonian families to build long-term food sovereignty and income security through regenerative agroforestry that also combines sustainable ayahuasca production. Chaikuni has recently received a grant to enable us to move onto Phase II of the initiative, working with Shipibo families in the Ucayali region. We are now planning this work and hope to launch with a Permaculture Design Course for up to 30 Shipibo farmers at the end of 2021.
We are deeply inspired to step into a new chapter of our mission and to continue to work with and support our indigenous friends and allies in the Amazon. We sincerely hope that it will be possible for those of you who were planning to be with us in the past year to join us either later this year or in 2022! While of course we cannot predict with certainty, we are hopeful and optimistic that the situation will have improved by August, internationally and in Peru, and that travel will again be possible.