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Me: “want some more juice?”

Mincaye: “okay!!”

Me: “tell me more stories . . .”

Mincaye: “okay!!”

Me: “why are your hair and teeth perfect?”

Mincaye: “okay!!”

May of 2019 I had the opportunity to live with a tribe in the Amazon just outside of Shell, Ecuador. These people were called the Waodani.

My time spent with the Waodani taught me the importance of relationships and community. I learned that the language barrier is real but there are so many ways to break it down. Mincaye (pictured) was a storyteller. Although I new nothing of his language and nearly every question I asked was answered with an enthusiastic “okay!!”, the smile on his face and the gestures he used spoke louder and more clear than any words he may have spoken.

On April 28, Mincaye passed on. When i visited the Waodani people, I left effected in ways wouldn’t have thought possible. As previously touched on, I learned the most about community and it’s power. Mincaye was a grandfather to all and served as "glue" to the tribe holding it together.

When I left the jungle, the locals asked that I would spread word of their existence. they want to be known. They want to have a place in the world just as much as anyone else. In light of this, I want to honor Mincaye. i will never forget this man. His smile. His stories. His positivity. This world needs more of that.


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