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Rob Sullivan

Kayapo Cures

Posted from: Krinu

We're on the final main shoot of the series, staying with the Kayapo Indigenous People on their reserve in the south of Para state. They are proud warriors yet at the same time very gentle hosts, and have given us a very warm and traditional welcome.

Over the last few days they've been showing us around their territory on foot. Yesterday we climbed to the top of a hill called 'the beautiful hill' from where you can see for miles across their pristine forest home. It was a very hot day and we spent quite a while exposed on top of the hill as they showed us their land and talked about how important it is to them. When we finally reached the bottom there was a beautiful waterfall tumbling into a shady pool, and we all downed tools and jumped in the water. It was pure bliss - and well deserved after a long hot day's filming.

One of the Kayapo men enjoying some Brazil nuts

Today we walked through the forest looking for Brazil nuts - part of the Kayapo's staple diet and also an important source of income. They taste so different to the ones we get at home: they were really moist and quite oily, straight from the forest floor, though the monkeys had got there first, so we had their leftovers.

On the way back, one of the Kayapo elders, a lovely man called Ira, started teaching some of the younger warriors how to recognise medicinal plants. Though I instinctively wanted to film it, our lovely but exhausted cameraman Keith was a long way behind us, so I let it go and just enjoyed observing the medicine lesson, without thinking of it as a TV sequence. It was amazing watching Ira the old warrior impart the Kayapo's traditional knowledge to the youth of the tribe. There were plants for everything: headaches, bad stomachs, sore feet, and even natural forms of contraceptive which the young men gathered up with gusto and a few knowing smiles.

Find out more about the Kayapo


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