Above is the latest promotional video I put together for the Good Project. It is featured on their homepage at jointhegoodproject.org. Of course, I didn’t do it all myself. I had the help of the Good Project board and professional filmmakers from Shabono Media. Without their support I could never have put this together.
Right away, it makes the point that Yanomami people face unique challenges in their history. Although, the challenges are not all the same for every community. Some are very explicit and urgent like the spread of measles, introduction of Covid-19, violent clashes with illegal gold miners, and the pollution of their environment. Other challenges don't paint the same kind of immediate urgency but are equally as important.
· advancing self-representation and self-determination in the political arena
· supporting intercultural and bilingual education and training
· redefining and strengthening indigeneity and the Yanomami identity in the 21st century
· The use of innovative technologies to promote sustainable and community development and cultural resilience
· The documentation and preservation of their traditional knowledge and ancient wisdoms.
· The protection preservation of their microbial biodiversity and understanding the link between the human microbiome and human health.
The Good Project recognizes all these areas for which existing Yanomami programs in the Amazon have been addressing for decades. To truly approach such diverse challenges, you need a diverse team. And this is what I love about being part of the Good Project. We are an intercultural, multi-disciplinary team that comes together to offer their expert kills and knowledge and share resources to achieve a common goal.
Sure, I’m one of the original founders but I am just one person of many that carries out our objectives. We are talking about anthropologists, biologists, medical physicians, interns, students, nurses, missionaries, school teachers, public health personnel, military staff, guides, politicians, corporate sponsors, and most importantly, the Yanomami people.
That’s what I love about the scene at 0:16. It embodies all that. A Yanomami-American from the suburbs of Pennsylvania. An anthropologist from the capital city of Venezuela. A Yanomami schoolteacher. A great Yanomami shaman trained to be a medic. Of course, we can’t forget my mom 😊 I love seeing her in group photos which is quite a rare event.
There is so much more to unpack from this video but let’s go to the end at 0:55. This scene is one of the most impactful moment’s of my time with the Yanomami.
This little guy is my nephew. I call him Felipe (his Spanish nickname). In Yanomami, I also call him “ihiru” which means son. I am like a father to him and he follows me just about everywhere.
When Felipe and I were walking back to the village, I was just filled with so much awe and admiration. He danced through the jungle with such cool, nonchalant, swagger. Like - Bee Gees kind of swagger. He exuded confidence. Though he was just a young boy, he was truly master of his domain. I felt an overcoming sense of peace, harmony, and a humility and other emotions that are hard to explain. Through Felipe and in that moment, I never felt so connected to the rainforest.
It is this boy and all the other children like him - that’s what drives me to continue the work of the Good Project. We need to protect him. We need to protect his right to live free and happy with his mother and his family in his rainforest home. Witnessing his display of innocence and mastery, was a stark reminder of how important he is to me and you. His existence sustains the planet.
Someday, he will grow up to be a Yanomami man. Whether he knows it or not, he carries a legacy to be a warrior and protectorate of the Amazon - as his forbearers. When he passes, he will leave the rainforest just as his father did. Pristine. Preserved. Protected.
This is why we need to support Yanomami programs in communities closer downriver, at the intersection of the Western world I grew up in and the Felipe grew up in. They = have a profound and critical role to protect communities of the interior. Communities like Felipe’s.
Yanomami leaders, such as those around the Mavaca area, are at the front lines of devastating diseases, negotiating economic and political policies, and serving as a representative voice to the world. They have a powerful call to protect the Yanomami way of life. We need to support them. I have to support them. For my family.
I hope that this blog and that video brings you a little closer to understanding what the Good Project stands for. If you can stand by that then I ask that you contribute to the Good Project at the link below:
If you want to learn a little more about our upcoming projects, then visit our landing page at: jointhegoodproject.org/expedition2022
If you are still unsure of our work with the Yanomami, then I invite you to reach out to me at email@example.com
Together, we can make this happen and protect the Yanomami way of life. Our planet depends on it.
Thank you for reading.
I have signed copies of my book The Way Around for sale here at this link: https://www.davidgoodamazon.com/product-page/autographed-copy-of-the-way-around