Meet Noemi, the forest shaman.
As all your hard raised cash will be going to support the communities in our Peruvian Ashaninka project, we thought it would be a splendid idea to introduce you to some of the people that your money will be helping. So without further ado, meet Noemi Lopez Camashiri the forest shaman.
Noemi is from the village of Tinkareni. She is the oldest woman in the project, as well as the most respected elder in the community. She is the community’s sheripiari – the Ashaninka word for shaman.
“I live here, this is my house in Tinkareni, this is my forest, my community. I was born here and I’ve lived here ever since – I belong to the community of Tinkareni. I love living here, the forest provides me with all I have. It feeds me and provides clean air that comes towards me and gives me life. For me, the forest is everything.” Noemi Lopez.
Sheripiari actually means ‘tobacco eater’, which is the most important medicine for the Ashaninka. Noemi chews the leaves to help control visions and also blows the leaves on sick patients to cure them of many ailments.
For the Ashaninka, shamans act as mediators between the visible and the invisible worlds. The community believe that only the shamans can save someone inflicted with the trauma caused by a vision of peyari – the body of a dead person wandering on earth that is separated from its spirit.
I’ll be introducing you to more community members from the Ashaninka tribe over the coming months so keep your eyes peeled.
Onwards, save the world, we salute you.