Do you have questions? We have answers!
Below, you'll find answers to the most common questions you may have on the Learning Journey to the Amazon. If you still can't find the answer you're looking for, please Contact Us!
Why should I participate in this journey?
This is a unique opportunity to experience the Amazon rainforest at the invitation of and alongside the Indigenous peoples who live there, to benefit from their guidance and wisdom, and to understand the Amazon from their perspective, while also supporting their communities and organizations as well as the sustainability of the Amazon.
Participants will experience the reality of living in, and being a part of, the thriving and intact Amazon rainforest. Together with the local Indigenous communities and leaders, and their NGO partners, we will learn about the Amazon's global importance, its history and its current geopolitical realities. We will learn about Indigenous territorial governance models and how the local Indigenous peoples protect and defend their territories from environmental destruction. This will all be explored while also considering the context of global problems of our time. We will find inspiration for taking action given our own realities, as well as inspiration to seek a more harmonious life with other cultures and with nature. And we will have time and guidance for inner work and reflection together with our Indigenous hosts.
By making this trip, we will support the struggle of Indigenous peoples to defend their territories, their cultures, and the Amazon!
"We resist to exist." - Marivelton Bare, President, Federation of Indigenous Organizations of Rio Negro (FOIRN)
What can I expect to learn?
With the indigenous peoples, we will learn about:
- their history of local governance, management and resistance to protect the Amazon rainforest, their culture and their peoples
- about the importance of the Amazon and the Upper Rio Negro region for the planet's climate regulation and equilibrium
- the geopolitics of the region and the Indigenous struggle
- challenges and power dynamics that influence the preservation of the Brazilian Amazon, and the socio-political realities driving deforestation, and successes and failures of efforts to stop deforestation
- how the sustainable economy of the standing forest benefits nature, the climate, the Indigenous peoples, and society
- about the traditional food production systems of the Indigenous peoples of the Rio Negro, and the process that keeps their culture alive and inspires other territories in the Amazon to not only protect the forest, but also to keep their culture alive by living it in the indigenous communities' routine
- Cultural and spiritual practices that keep our Amazon Indigenous hosts’ cultures alive and thriving, and that inspire other Indigenous peoples of the Amazon with the importance of traditional cultural practices and protection of their forest
- the vast biodiversity of the Amazon, from the most miniscule beautifully colored insects to the grandest of trees towering above the canopy
- how cultures that have lived for millennia in the Amazon continue to live in harmony with the forest
- the Amazon's importance regarding climate change, including global impacts of deforestation, and Amazon’s role in creating and sustaining “flying rivers”
- the impacts of extreme events resulting from global warming and deforestation in the Upper Rio Negro
Why those dates and duration?
Traveling through the Amazon is intense. The Brazilian Amazon covers 59% of Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world! Mobility in the Amazon is mainly by river, with limited access by road and airplane.
Mobility along the rivers in the Upper Rio Negro region of the Amazon is preferred during the period of flooding, between June and September, when the rivers are at their fullest. The Indigenous communities of the Upper Rio Negro that we will visit together with the local partners have invited us to make the trip in September.
The trip will begin with a dinner in Manaus on September 19 and end with a breakfast in Manaus on September 25, and in the dates between we will get to know the deep Amazon, her wisdom and beauty, and experience rich cultures that live there.
How are the accommodations on this trip?
As you consider this trip, please keep in mind that it is an immersive experience into how the Indigenous communities of the region live. We will spend three nights in our hosts’ Indigenous communities. During this time, you can expect to: sleep in their communities, experience their food, bathe in the river, and get to know their spirituality and culture. You can also expect to participate in activities such as ceramics and craft-making, as well as learning about the use of medicinal plants. Be willing to get out of your comfort zone and be surprised by a new culture.
About the accommodation
Manaus: we will book rooms at a hotel in downtown Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas.
Indigenous communities: visitors will sleep in a large, shared room, like the one in the photo. We will have hammocks to sleep in (as is customary in the region), but will also have the option to sleep in cots, for those who prefer. While in the communities, we will bathe in the river and use a dry toilet, just as our hosts do.
São Gabriel da Cachoeira: in this city, we will sleep in the Instituto Socioambiental's (ISA) regional headquarters, an organization that has partnered with Synergos for this trip. The rooms are doubles or triples, and there are individual beds with typical indoor plumbing, including showers with hot water. The headquarters also have a lovely view of the Rio Negro.
What is included in the price?
The price of the trip includes all the lodging, food, and transportation - including the rental of two aircrafts, boats, fuel, and the honorariums for the services provided by the communities we will be visiting. Our host communities have chosen to develop an award-winning community-based tourism model, as a main source of income for their Indigenous communities.
This trip is also a way to support the strengthening of organizations that work in and for the Amazon and those who live and are part of it. Part of the amount paid for the trip will be directed towards the institutional strengthening of FOIRN - Federation of Indigenous Organizations of the Rio Negro. This donation will support:
- the development of sustainable economies for the indigenous community (invigorating the forest with productive chains that value indigenous culture, their ways of living, and the Amazonian biodiversity)
- monitoring the environment and climate of the Rio Negro Basin
- territorial & environmental governance of Indigenous lands
- strengthening the development of Indigenous associations
Is this trip open to everyone?
Yes, this trip is open to anyone interested, although there are a limited number of spots available. The itinerary of the trip will be active, with some travel by boat and some walking. There will also be time for rest and contemplation.
When should I book my flight to Brazil, Manaus?
Look for flights on September 17 or 18, arriving at Manaus International Airport before 3PM Manaus time on September 19. This will give you time to get to your hotel and rest before the opening dinner of the trip at 7PM.
Are there any expectations of those who sign up?
No. Of course we will be happy if you are interested in the continuing support for and solidarity with Indigenous peoples of the region, but our expectation has already been met when you decide to make the trip.
What should I bring on this trip?
A final list of what to pack will be sent to participants by July.