* in process...

  • Instagram ícone social
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Vimeo ícone social
  • YouTube Social  Icon

“- We came to learn the songs and stories to heal. Then the grandfather said: - Grandchildren, you will be able to learn and without a doubt, he said, I will teach you everything, from the beginning to the end.”

Part of "The Origin of Coca Plant" tale

 

“Soy Indio” (“I’m Indian”) and “Soy Bora” (“I’m Bora”). This is the way Aladino Mimico defines himself. Aladino is a shaman from Pebas, a remote village in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. He is a healer, and uses the coca plant (ground to perfection), tobacco, sugar cane rum, and “ampiri” (a mixture of tobacco with wild tree salt) to heal everything from migraines to insomnia. Aladino also considers himself a historian of the Bora Tribe, and can recite thousand-year-old stories handed down by Bora shamans for untold generations.

“Do not despair when something happens to you, I will be looking after you until you exist in this world.”

Part of "The Origin of Coca Plant" tale

In a globalized world, Aladino is now an exile in his own land. Younger Boras are leaving their villages for urban cities, depleting an already dwindled population. Coca, one of the most important plants for Bora shamans like Aladino, is also the primary ingredient for cocaine forcing many Boras work in production and trafficking. Not to mention all the environmental issues that surroundings him such as illegal mining, logging and criminal fires making the massive deforestation closer and closer. The psychological damages are yet to be discovered as the inhabitants of the rainforest face the climate change.

 

The Bora healing technique used by Aladino requires him to consume large amounts of coca, tobacco and alcohol, which allow him to communicate with spirits, who guide his healing. Three years ago, his fellow villagers rushed Aladino to a hospital after he fell unconscious while building a maloca, a large wooden structure akin to a temple for Bora shamans. His life was saved by an emergency surgical operation at the hospital to treat massive internal hemorrhaging caused by the toxic combination he frequently ingests. As a reminder, he carries a scar from the bottom of his sternum to his groin.

 

As Aladino recovered, the Boras began to question his knowledge and powers since he was unable to heal himself. Now, with a troubled mind, Aladino must navigate a doubting village and an increasingly hostile world as one of the last Bora shamans.

 

Ííbíí pííve tiná ume, the Bora translation for “the origin of the coca”, is the most important story in Bora culture. The first man to walk the earth was a Bora created by avuelo, the god of all creation. Avuelo told this first man that in order to live in this world he must learn how to use the coca, and gave him instructions for growing and consuming the plant.

 

The instructions came with a dire warning: consuming the coca would allow Bora to communicate with avuelo directly, but misusing the sacred plant would bring a deadly curse. Whoever abuses the plant will be unable to stop consuming it until they die. After his brush with death and western medicine, Aladino believes he has become the warning and the character in his own story.

“The hawk wanted to kill his father too, so there would be no justice and then the people cut its two legs and the hawk went to his grandfather Úúwuáá Jénimúé Diiwúú, who healed it with good yucca. The grandfather said that this is what will happen to anyone who starts curses.”

Part of "The Origin of Coca Plant" tale

 

The demise of Latin American native cultures is extensively documented by academics and anthropologists. The continent has faced an incalculable loss of the cultural tapestry that has given its modern states their unique texture. This  project is the story of a man standing against the decimation of a thousand year old culture armed only with the history of his people and the guidance of his spirits. It is a glimpse into the frontline of the war between a uniquely Amazonian tradition and the unrelenting spread of a homogenous globalization of economies, cultures, and history.

 

A story that chooses to believe, rather than doubt, that Aladino Mimico speaks with god through the same plant that has killed millions of people around the world, a story that uses the psychological turmoil of one of the last Bora shaman to explore the intangible losses facing the Amazon and its inhabitants today. It reaches past the headlines and their necessary focus on climate change and deforestation to look directly into the soul of a man whose life cannot be explained by carbon emissions, but must be understood through the lens of spirituality and a centuries old civilization.