After entering her spiritual study, Hushahu continued to live very simply semi-isolated in the rainforest. She began to teach inside of her people and, after many years, she began to teach in the world outside.
Through this she saw the transformation that the Yawanawá tradition could bring in both worlds. But she also became increasingly concerned for the future of the tradition as well as for the rainforest itself.
In 2021, Hushahu began to realise a dream she’d had for a long time: Centro Awavãna. A model of sustainability and food-sovereignty in indigenous community, Centro Awavãna is a project of cultural preservation on multiple levels.
Preservation of the Yawanawá spiritual tradition
The Yawanawá carry something rare and precious in the world of today. Following a near cultural extinction, they are blessed to still hold what was passed down orally through countless generations.
The tradition of the Yawanawá is rich in culture and understanding. Healing, both physical and emotional, can be approached through spiritual work or through a treatment with medicinal plants. Yawanawá storytelling is a form of passing a message to the listener, bringing education and developing wisdom through examples. Everything in the tradition is connected: the stories, songs, arts, dances, prayers, foods and even the forest itself.
These are treasures of humanity that involve a vast and profound system of understanding which we cannot afford to lose. Directed by Hushahu, Centro Awavãna is dedicated to keep the tradition alive inside of the tribe. It is a school where the youth of the tribe can come to study all that their ancestors left behind. Passing these treasures down to the next generation in a form that is true to their roots.
Sharing of indigenous wisdom with the western world
Indigenous wisdom doesn’t only serve for indigenous people. The ancestral understanding and healing capacity of the Yawanawá is just as relevant in the western world today as it was in the rainforest 100 years ago.
Centro Awavãna has its doors open to visitors who travel across the world to learn about, or heal through, the Yawanawá culture and the forest it’s based in. The vision of Centro Awavãna is to create a space structured for visitors to feel safe and held without sacrificing their connection to the rainforest.
Once complete, the centre will contain 3 separate, self-contained spaces for visitors:
One for those looking to get to know the forest and the Yawanawá family, staying close to the main Shuhu (roundhouse) where events are held. This main space is aimed at visitors coming for traditional festivities and cultural events. The other two are spaces dedicated to spiritual study. One at the top of the hill looking out over the forest canopy and the other smaller and secluded for deeper study completely immersed in the rainforest.
Hushahu often says that spirituality has no colour or owner. In this way, the seeds of Yawanawá spirituality can be planted and carried in the hearts of anyone who feels the call to receive them.
Preservation of the Yawanawá arts and crafts:
When Hushahu entered her first diet, she began expressing the world she discovered through art. Without any materials, she began drawing on herself with the traditional paints Nanẽ (Genipapo) and Paxĩti (Urucum), designing in the earth and painting with charcoal from the fire. Taking inspiration from the traditional stories she began bringing back the traditional decorations of her people, working with beads, feathers, bone and other things from the forest.
The arts and crafts form an important part of Yawanawá culture, from decorative arts to objects for spiritual practices, household objects and traditional weapons. Many of this is being forgotten due to the convenience of buying things from the city and the lack of need for making things from the forest.
These arts also are connected to the Yawanawá spirituality. For example: to make a Shumu (clay pot) a specific type of clay called Mapu must be found in the river banks inside the forest. Then the clay must be prepared in a specific way and those that prepare it must hold a diet once the clay is placed in the fire. Both the Shumu and Mapu have a place in the Yawanawá spirituality and are told about in the traditional stories. Every painted design has a different connection to the forest and the spirituality. Even baskets woven from palm leaves are similarly connected.
Centro Awavãna is a space for Hushahu to bring her creative work forward and bring other talented artists together to give continuation to these practices. To preserve the Yawanawá tradition in a complete form, the arts are important and necessary.
Preservation of the rainforest & movement towards more sustainable practices:
A principle focus of Centro Awavãna is the continual planting of fruits and vegetables around the land. There Is a dedicated area for food plantation and a large variety of fruit trees, banana palms and other edible plants are scattered over every part of the space, providing shade and ensuring no cleared land goes to waste.
The majority of these are indigenous crops that make part of the traditional Yawanawá diet. This includes a diverse variety of fruits, vegetables and wild fruits that grow in the surrounding forest. These foods are shared with the local families as well as with visitors, moving away from dependence on the cities for sustenance and bringing more health and independence to the community and the land.
Besides foods, Centro Awavãna also has many medicines planted around the land. The vision is to have all the medicines needed to provide treatments available from the land itself, allowing the wild plants in the forest to be left untouched and creating a living library of the vast Yawanawá understanding of the plant world.
The next major step for sustainability is a complete solar system. Taking away the current petrol generator will significantly reduce material pollution, noise pollution and economise more financially, freeing more funds to be invested into the plantations.
These investments all tie in to the vision of a space that protects and preserves the rainforest. Centro Awavãna is an example of how to move into this new era of western connection while maintaining these values. This vision passes to those that visit or study here, including the local families, bringing a gradual change into the wider community.
YAWANAWÁ NEW YEAR’S RETREAT
DEC 27TH – 5TH JANUARY
An invitation to celebrate the new year with Hushahu and her family, taking part in traditional ceremonies and activities.
NEW YEAR’S SAMAKĒI IMMERSION
JAN 15TH – FEB 15TH 2024
A month long immersion in the rainforest and Yawanawá spirituality. The practice of Samakēi is fundamental part of spiritual and personal growth in the Yawanawá tradition.
SPIRITUALITY AND PERMACULTURE RETREAT
A unique opportunity to connect directly with the rainforest, learning and applying practical permaculture skills, while simultaneously engaging in Yawanawá spirituality and ceremony.
At the start of 2022, Hushahu received her first Western guests in the space as well as many of the Yawanawá youth to whom she is a teacher.
We continue to work to make Centro Awavãna an example of what’s possible in the rainforest, following Hushahu’s vision of healing, preservation and sustainability.
Main Shuhu (roundhouse) with raised wooden floor
Outhouse with 3 showers and 3 toilets
Wooden Boardwalk connecting the river to the Shuhu, kitchen and toilets
Diet space consisting of one small Shuhu and 18 huts
Basic isolated diet space consisting of 4 huts and 1 kitchen
Main water system with well, water tower and filter
Food plantations focusing on traditional foods
Basic medicine plantations
Main Shuhu solar system
Expansion of food plantations
Expansion of medicinal plantations
Improvements to main Shuhu
Additional 3 dry toilets and 2 showers
4 guest houses connected to main Shuhu
Diet space kitchen
Diet space outhouse with 3 toilets and showers
Isolated diet space outhouse with 2 dry toilets and 1 shower
Traditional arts and carpentry workshop
Permanent living space incl. outhouse with toilet and shower
Permanent living space water system with well, tank and filter
Diet space water system with well, tank and filter
Isolated diet space water system with well, tank and filter