It wasn’t the kind of a job path advancement one might expect. She had a dream: to work as a wildlife rehabilitator. She had three choices: Mexico, Africa or Peru. She chose Peru. This step eventually turned into a job as an adventure tour guide in the Peruvian Amazon. Wild. Exciting. Fun. Maybe even a little bit dangerous. But when one dream fades, another one manifests, because even in the spiritual realm, a vacuum is abhorred. In the early 1990s, by taking the road less traveled, one woman was able to see the sickness and disease in locations not usually included on adventure tour itineraries.
Feeling called to help, she started by simply sharing some supplies she had on hand with people in need. This led to more intense medical interventions: stitching wounds by reading “how-to” steps from a first-aid book; boating a dying child down the Amazon River to a faraway medical post. Her path merged into a two way street: when she took ill while working in the jungle, a tea of leaves was served to treat her. She remembers “It worked! The ‘doctor’ became the patient.” Those who study the practices of some native Peruvians recognize this “doing for each other” as sacred reciprocity, known as “ayni.”
Detroit, Michigan born Patty Webster thus stumbled upon her purpose in life: combining two worlds of medicine, western and traditional practices, and bringing professional medical relief to some of Peru’s most remote inhabitants who have no access to any type of medical care. In 1993, the Rainforest Health Project was born eventually becoming Amazon Promise. Headquartered in the Peruvian jungle city of Iquitos, Webster now leads expeditions of a different kind: bringing medical and non-medical volunteers to the Upper Amazon Basin of Peru: conducting routine medical outreach, offering training, health education, cervical cancer screening and treatment by venturing into 40 remote villages. “With our partner organizations, Amazon Promise also provides clean drinking water and sanitation by using rainwater harvesting systems and composting toilets,” says Webster.
It’s no wonder that both having ties to Peru, Shamans Market caught up with Webster and Amazon Promise and began donating some of the proceeds from Shamans Market sales to Amazon Promise and other socially responsible organizations working in Peru. In December, 2016, an idea was born: Why not offer on Shamans Market’s website the beautiful and sometimes very unusual, one-of-a-kind, collectable, handmade jungle crafts, artwork and jewelry created by the people AP serves? Webster was holding a rare and unique assemblage collected during her extensive travels to some of the most remote places in Peru. Says Webster, “Most of the items come from villages where Amazon Promise serves: deep in the Amazon Rainforest, from Iquitos and other regions of Peru. I believe art in any shape or form inspires and helps create stronger community.”
Now you can shop this carefully curated collection at the Amazon Promise store and check out the Dragonfly Napkin Rings, Blue Morpho Butterfly Basket, Mermaid Baby, Chullachaqui, the one-legged forest spirit, and even more goodies at www.shamansmarket.com/amazon-promise.html or typing “Amazon Promise” in the search field of the Shamans Market site. All proceeds from these sales benefit Amazon Promise. Stay tuned for more details about AP’s art auction Fundraiser in NYC May 5 2017.