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The Producer's Journal

In 1989, "The Living Edens: Manu" producer Kim MacQuarrie kept a journal while living with and researching a remote Yura (Yaminahua - Yabaishta) Indian community that lived within Manu National Park. For at least 60 years before MacQuarrie's visit, this warlike Yura tribe had kept outsiders from entering the northern boundary of Manu (in southeastern Peru).

Read two weeks of journal entries and return with Kim to 1989 and to Manu, and live his incredible exploration.

Educated in France, the United States, and Peru, MacQuarrie is an Emmy-winning writer/director/producer who has lived for more than four years in Peru. Part of that time was spent living with the Yura (Yaminahua) Indians, a small group of recently-contacted Amazonian natives now living just outside of Manu National Park. MacQuarrie is the author of Peru's Amazonian Eden: Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve, and has made two previous films on Manu: "Spirits of the Rainforest" and "The Spirit Hunters." For further information on Mr. MacQuarrie's films, send e-mail to: kimmacquarrie@compuserve.com.

AUGUST 3rd, 1989

Day one of trip to Manu. Great weather, some groups of macaws, egrets, and even a small group of 50 lb. rodents called capybaras that got the Yura (Yabaishta) Indians quite excited. They wanted to go hunt them, but as we already have food and are starting late anyway, we kept going on. Late in the day, Jose got out his throw net, and after a single toss in a blue-green pool, we had more fish than we knew what to do with. The best are the palomettas, a fish that is silver and round and seems to melt in your mouth. While Jose was boiling the fish, Dishpopediba showed up with a lizard and wanted to put the lizard into the pot to boil it. Jose wouldn't let him, and Dishpopediba looked at him like he was crazy. TheYura brought hot peppers and yuca (manioc root) with them, which is great.

The idea is to travel two to three days up the Mishagua River until this boat can't go any further, then to hide the boat and walk two days over the Fitzcarrald Pass and down into Manu. The objective is the Yura village on the Cashpajali River, the only one that I haven't visited yet. The Yura tell me that there are all kinds of old rubber boom camps dating from the last century on top of the pass. They say that there are still old bottles and bricks and pieces of metal from these camps.

Have spent a long week getting this expedition together -- the Yura keep changing their minds every time we figure out who will be going. Last week it was Pandikon, Dishpopediba, Juan and about three others. The next day it was an entirely different group, and so on until this morning. Every day they change their minds -- enough to drive an airline reservation desk crazy --but I'm used to it. Fortunately, the chief (who calls me "ersto," or "little brother") is here, as is my good friend, Yabidawa. So is our boatman Jose, a Peruvian married to the daughter of a Yaminahua shaman. The motor is a 9.5 horsepower "peque-peque," whose long shaft and propeller can be elevated, allowing us to get through the shallowest water. I'm hoping that the river doesn't start to fall, so that we can get up it as far as possible. The Yura said that tomorrow or the next day, they will show me where they were first contacted and where they raided a woodcutters' camp.

 
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