The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Machaku Yaku - From The Amazon Headwaters To My Heart

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, December 03, 2018
Featured Image
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
- THE LITTLE PRINCE

It isn’t every day that I find myself in rubber boots, following a machete-wielding woman, Carmenita, up a muddy trail, through jungle brush, and into a clearing with butterflies. Gorgeous butterflies. And tropical flowers whose names elude my brain.

Twelve of us have come to experience the Machaku Yuku community, an indigenous Quecha people who live near the headquarters of the Amazon in Ecuador. For two days, Bill and I share a house on stilts with Marta, the wife of the head of the village. I suspect we are given this honor because Bill is the oldest in our group.

The Machaku Yuku are opening their houses and hearts to allow us to experience how they live, what they eat, and how they cohabitate in an environment that offers everything from poisonous snakes to healing plants.

Carmenita shows us the huge ant nests that hang from leaves.  She places a gigantic ant on my arm which later, will be barbecued and we shall eat at their healer’s house. The healer is Carmenita’s father. When I tell him I think I have the start of bronchitis—a chronic condition for me—he mixes a brew of various leaves, hands me the corked bottle, and says to take it twice a day. Heck—if I can eat an ant –and later a grilled worm—I’ll try it.  It stopped my bronchitis!

We rise at dawn to sit with community members who gather to share any dreams from the night before. Certain members serve as interpreters of the dreams. The community shares horchata tea before scurrying off to get the children ready for school. The older ones walk 2.5 hours to get to a road for the school bus while the younger ones are taught in a single room.

For our last night, we sit in an open-air circular building. We’re requested to NOT sit with each other but to choose members of the village. A tiny girl with gorgeous black eyes, nestles under my arm while another one sits on my lap. The village musicians perform their music and dance for us.  Then, we are asked to join them in dancing which is quite easy to do because it seems there are no prescribed steps. The finale is to get the three couples in our party to stand and to be re-married in Quecha style. It is such a sweet invitation and so incredibly simple. Our three men are each escorted by male villagers as their sponsors. They are given white ponchos to wear and a hat. Three times the men approach us (the wives) and bow. On the third time, we stand, each with a female escort, and join the men.That’s it: married!  Had this been an actual ceremony, we would have been sent out to the jungle to have our first night alone.  (I’ll take my little bed with the mosquito netting, thank you!)

Here’s the point. I write so you can see what I saw. But what I felt—the invisible—ahhh, that was the lesson.

Without pretense, apology or guile, this community accepted us on equal terms, trusting that our hearts would open just as theirs did. Marta proudly showed us how the bark of a tree could be shredded to make a fine thread that she began to weave into a basket. My little under-the-arm child held my hand and stroked my thumbnail, smiling all the while. And when it was time to leave, sure they offered items that they had made for us to buy.  BUT it was not a condition of engagement.It was just that—a simple offering.

Question: How do we bring the stranger into our home? The stranger who does not speak our language? Would we open our bedroom, serve them at our table, take them on excursions that might seem foreign? Would we sing and dance for them?

Something to ponder.

 



Share This Post

Like this post? Please share it!


< Back to All Posts

Comments



Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

View all posts by Eileen


Subscribe to My Blog!


Like My Blog?

Please share it!

Recents Posts


Categories



Archive


Tags

Spelling Bee Change Energizing Others Honoring Veterans Trust Meetings Animals Reshaping the Brain Yoga Technology Christmas Charity Listening Sales work life balance Radical Resiliency resilience Children holidays Relationships Labor Day angels creativity Your Resiliency GPS Walk For Hunger Mother's Day Hurricane Irma Energizing Adventure love USAA Suddenly Single Positive Brain Repatterning gratitude Office Celebrations Politics Disruption Gifts From The Mountain Survive New Year resolutions Bullying Dogs Marriage Stress Corporate Culture preresilience Disrupt More Fun at Work John Havlik Exercise John Blumberg WASP Sleeping Branding Henry VIII Deloitte cancer Employee Attitude Social Media Communication Back To School Learned Optimism earthquakes Sexual Harassment Feedback Sheryl Sandberg Diversity Seder Eve Humanity Guns Option B Road Trip Boston Marathon Climate Change Breath Vacation Environtment Hurricane Harvey Adam Grant Postive Work Environment Loss Girls Divorce resiliency The Last Jedi Interview customer service Happiness Laughter Talk Ain't Cheap Book coaching resilient leaders teams employee retention Family Memorial Day Vegan Women Book Reviews Career Advice Strangers LGBTQ Adaptability Tornadoes in Texas Kindness employees Travel Siblings Twas The Night Before Christmas Energy Mark Scharenbroich Speaking ecology Married Emotional Intelligence Building Resilience resilient organizations Intentions Alzheimer's Faith conscience Humor Writing Ecotourism Persuasion Arlington Cemetary e-mail St. Patrick's Day Networking Motivating Others civil discourse Napping Jewish Multi-tasking Depression Bill Treasurer Content Generation goals Superbowl Empathy Ownership Optimism Breathe servant leadership Patriots Soft Skills Leaders Open Doors Book Thanksgiving Engaged Workers Burnout waiting Leadership Skills stuck Aging U.S.A.A. Voting Nursing women in leadership Sustainability Education Fun Work Environment Idea