2023 began with the joyful celebration of my beautiful, most precious grand-daughter Sol Aruna’s first birthday, with her wonderful Colombian family.
And then came the successful purchase of land in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta for NIKUMAKUNZAMA, Alexander Rojas’s dream project, for which I have been appointed International Director.
This was made possible with the generous support of my awesome friends Trupti Magecha, Ivana Koralek, Myrto Stylou, Marie Struthers, Shelley Hermon, Sue Anderson and Aaron Quinn. Together we raised half of the budget needed to buy the land.
NIKUMAKUNZAMA’s intention is to unify the 4 main indigenous tribes of the Sierra Nevada and to build a University of Ancestral Medicinal Plants, to learn directly from the Mamos (Spiritual leaders) for healing and for much more...
I continued my research for a documentary film about Arhuaco Mamo Don Daniel Solis Torres, who when I first met him last year had asked me to help him meet the Pope in Rome.
Yes it’s a long shot, how to meet the Pope, how to make a film about this and why?
This is what I have been exploring, thinking about, dreaming about, chewing food for thought, through each of my interactions, experiences and discoveries in the Sierra Nevada and with Don Daniel.
Many journeys followed up and down the stunning mountains of the Sierra Nevada, covered in luscious tropical vegetation, by foot, by mule, by motorbike, under the scorching heat, invaded by mosquitos. At times coming across the loud roar of red howler monkeys - a primal and eerie sound filling up the dense jungle - eagles flying so close and far away, the snow covered mountain peaks glistening in the sun, radiating a divine light across this most beautiful, exceptional, unique ecosystem where mountains, sea, jungle and desert meet, and from which emanates a very special potent energy … casting a spell on those who feel it.
Traveling on Alexander's motorbike, we reached Arhuaco pueblos hidden in the mountains that seemed to exist outside of time, with hardly any traces of the modern world…to participate in rituals connecting us to Mother Nature and meditate on what we could do to protect her.
I spent a lot of time hanging out in his home in Don Diego (off the main coastal road no 90), where he lives with his wife Maritza, one of their daughters and her family and four of their grand-children.
With my basic Spanish, I was still not able to communicate in the way I would have liked to, which at times was extremely frustrating and isolating. However, I bonded easily with the children through playing and sharing - universal language that all children understand - and became very attached to them all, especially to one of his grand-sons Esneider, who celebrated his 10th birthday whilst I was there.
Esneide was very keen to learn from his grandfather and accompanied him wherever he went, as much as possible. It was obvious that he was a natural disciple and possibly a Mamo in the making, following in his grandfather’s footsteps.