The Peace and Dignity Journey in Vilcabamba
September 13, 2016
JPD arrives in Vilcabamba
September 22, 2016

Picking up the Indigenous Runners

Peace and Dignity Journey.

Last Wednesday, I drove to Catamayo with Cristian, our farm partner, and Jose Pablo from Vilcabamba.   It’s about a one and a half-hour drive through the mountains to pick to the participants of the Peace and Dignity Journey, who started the run in the south of Argentina. They have been running for four months and will arrive in Panama  in the middle of November to meet the runners from North America.

The runners blessing the earth in Catamayo


Ecuador is so beautiful and mysterious that I intuited that these next two days would be a journey into the unknown, which it was indeed.  I already knew Jaime Pilatuna from work we had done a few years ago.  He is the spiritual leader of the Ecuador Indigenous community, full of energy and fun to be with.  More important, he creates incredible ceremonies that people cannot forget, which is particularly true for Susan and me. There were five other runners and they have dedicated six months of their lives to this journey.

In front of the bus with one of the runners


I asked one of the young men why he was running. His answer was:  “to thank the Earth for his family and people.  I had forgotten in how many ways the indigenous give thanks and blessings and how much it brightens your whole life.  They also have a different sense of time. It’s as if they wait for time to organize itself, whereas we tend to organize time.  This also meant that we had to listen to the flow of the run happening. Everything went very well but we also made many changes, which at times made it difficult to co-ordinate with everybody else.

We packed six runners into my car


In Catamayo, the runners we waiting for us with a police escort and also with a bus that the authorities provided.  We gathered in the square and a group of deeply sacred staffs were brought out, one for each runner.  These staffs had been gathered since 1994 from hundreds of South American tribes by the indigenous leader who had spent 4 years of his life making the Journey happen.

Jaime Peletuna, the spiritual leader of the Ecuadorian indigenous


In the Square, a blessing to the seven directions was given and the conch shell was blown.  The first runner took off and the remaining six runners jumped in my car and then every ten kilometers we dropped off a runner. This made the run very fast as we had all the runners participating at the same time.

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