Under the threat of environmental degradation due to oil and mineral extraction from parts of the Ecuadorean Amazon jungle, the Sapara people have reached out to allies outside of the jungle to help protect and preserve their land. The mode in which they have chosen to communicate the sacredness of the land and its importance not only to their values and traditions but also to the global family of citizens, is through sharing their extraordinary way of life. This includes sacred knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants, knowledge that they have cultivated and refined through generations of teachings. They have also maintained a connection to the most fundamental necessity of our species: an understanding of the process of normal birth.
The Sapara people have resisted contact with persons and groups from outside of their nation to both honor and protect the embodied cultural knowledge they hold. This applies to pregnancy and childbirth, a life process that is integrated into Sapara culture by women in the community who have been apprenticed into supporting the process of birth by their ancestors. Although the territory is remote by any Western metrics, travel from the community to the nearest hospital by both small plane (approximately 30 minutes from the local airstrip when weather and finances permit) and on foot by the Sapara people is possible. The opening of this contact and the ensuing communication with the outside world it has allowed has led to a handful of women choosing to birth outside of the community in recent years. The elder women in the community, however, recognized the slow degradation of spiritual practices around birth and the very fabric of the culture that this might lead to and have encouraged women to stay in the community unless it is medically necessary. They have created a culture of birth in the community that is safe and held by the sacred practices they convey.
The Sapara women need to be supported in their efforts to protect the culture of birth in their community as a physical act but also the most basic representation of their ties to their land. They have asked for assistance specifically in building a birth centre so women from all the sparsely located communities recognize birth can occur on their land in a physical location.
You can give to help build a Sapara birth centre here. (www.gofundme.com/xv2dqnx8)
Please forward the link to the GoFundMe site and information about the Sápara Birth Centre Project to your networks.