Our Team

 

Jakon Rate / Manuela Mahua Ahuanari

Manuela Mahua comes from a long-standing and well-respected family lineage of Shipibo-Konibo healers from the upper and lower Ucayali regions of the Peruvian Amazon. Born in 1947, she has nearly 60 years of experience working with her ancestral medicine. She began apprenticing with her father at age 13.

Today she heals and teaches, to both Shipibo-Konibo and foreigners alike. She also continues to strengthen her samá, observing periods of dieta throughout the year to learn more and keep her healing power in balance. She has a vast knowledge and understanding of the natural pharmacy of her land and is very open to sharing it with those who are willing to make the commitment to carry on the tradition.

Manuela is an altruistic, generous, and positive force. In each ceremony she always makes sure to work on each participant individually singing her incredible variety of healing songs with the attention and care that only a great grandmother can give. She embodies her given Shipibo-Konibo name Jakon Rate and truly is a Life-Giving Good Surprise for all who meet and work with her!


Soi Sama / Delia Mahua Perez

Delia Mahua is a renowned Shipibo-Konibo midwife who learned the trade from her maternal-grandmother at the age of 17.  Delia is Manuela’s first-cousin and the daughter of Pascual Mahua, a deeply-respected healer. Upon moving to Pucallpa from Paoyhan, Manuela brought Delia on to assist in the preparation of food and medicines. Delia’s care, kindness, and beauty touches all those she meets and she is truly a tsiri ainbo, a ‘stunningly beautiful woman who always does what is right’.

She is a deeply cherished great-grandmother who remains a key provider of her family, while providing Manuela and her guests with the highest level of live-giving good services. Delia’s presence spreads love throughout the land, food, and plant remedies that is felt by all who come to heal and learn with us.

 


B. R. Best, NAMA

Brian is a linguistic anthropologist and an ecological sanitation specialist, who has been a student of Manuela since 2011. His academinc studies led him to the Ucayali River region where he has been sharing and learning with the Shipibo-Konibo since 2003.  In 2016 he began focusing on Shipibo-Konibo language revitalization and received a master’s dergree in Native American Languages and Linguistics in 2019. His thesis, Jakón Jói, examines the links between Indigenous language dictionaries and Indigenous Decolonization, and describes an ongoing project to create an online Shipibo-Konibo dictionary.

He continues to provide assitance to the NGO Alianza Arkana while serving as the administrator for Jakon Rate.  To the amusement of Manuela, Jurriën and others, he tries –often unsuccessfully– to find time to observe dieta while balancing work and a young family. Brian lives near Manuela and provides fulltime assistance on many levels.


Jurriën van der Waals

Jurriën from the Netherlands has been working with traditional Amazonian medicines since 2005 in various traditions and has developed a very special relationship of trust and respect with Manuela and the Mahua family lineage through 10 years of healing and apprenticeship. In 2010 he volunteered for 6 months at a well-known center in Iquitos where he met Manuela, other female healers, and his first Shipibo-Konibo teacher who brought him to his village for a 1-month dieta in isolation.

Through this dieta experience, Jurriën realized that the samá and working close with a traditional practitioner of Shipibo-Konibo medicine were a truer and more fulfilling way to interact with the medicine and to receive deep healing and teachings. He returned the following year for a 3-month dieta in isolation, whereupon Jurriën reconnected with the female healers he had met the year before.

From there he began to strengthen his samá through intense apprenticeships with Manuela, her uncles, and a foreign practitioner who also trained in the Mahua lineage. He than began assisting Manuela in ceremony, helping her lay the foundations for Noya Nete, and by 2016 began the practicing stage of his own training.