Don Vicente Mamallacta: A Kichwa Shaman

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Don Mamallacta Vicente is a yachak in his 80s. Yachak is the Kichwa word for shaman or natural healer. Another term often used in the region is curandero or ayahuasquero.

His healing powers and energies are from a different time and age and he here (Sat 14 Jun 2008) speaks about his extraordinary life as a shaman, – including paddling for a year, leaving behind a wife on the border only to find her married to another shaman, who was out to kill him, upon returning from collecting salt on the Marañon river, deep in the Peruvian jungle, far away; then finding a new wife and altogether fathering ten children and healing many peoples lives throughout his own.

There are three parts:

(Don Vicente – Speaking of his life: Part I)

(Don Vicente – Speaking of his life: Part II)

(Vicente Mamallacta – Still Going Strong)

He has lived most of his life, to the best of his abilities, as a secretive shaman who has never been much in public, let alone left his house, apart from the mission to get salt or when forced to “work for the man” or in his work as a leading elder in his community; he prefers to hide away in his little part of the hilly rain forest of the Napo region of Ecuador with his family.

However, his family and Vicente himself are coming to terms with the possibility of death within reach, not just in ayahuasca visions, and have decided to record his memories. They are here for the first time told to a camera, in Kichwa without subtitles, filmed with a little digital camera because batteries of the miniDV camera were dead and there was an extended power cut; but this is an extraordinary story that will hopefully be repeated with a better camera and with subtitles in Spanish and English one day. If not, they stand as a historical documentation of an ancient tradition, which still lives on, but not with these ancient powers and energies.

Despite the language barrier, the monologue (with interventions by two younger generations) will still give an impression of this amazing character and medicine man.

Vicente lives in a community called Santo Domingo near Archidona in the Napo region of Ecuador where his open to ayahuasca ceremonies with good hearted people for little money. A ceremony with Vicente can be bought from 10 dollars if you don’t have any more than that. If you can give USD20 or bring some sugar, salt and flour to the family you will probably make everybody happy.

Vicente can be contacted via his son, Silverio: silverio.mamallacta -at- gmail.com; and if you don’t speak/write Spanish the Mamallactas can be contacted via the colonos blog, leave a comment and we will get in touch as soon as possible.

Vicente’s family:

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5 thoughts on “Don Vicente Mamallacta: A Kichwa Shaman

    Simonides said:
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 02:06 (129)

    Hello, I was hoping to get in touch with a yachak for a (very simple and economic) ayahuasca session around the end of March. I am a US student who lives in Quito and friend from the US is coming to visit; there will be just two of us. Basically we are just looking for someone to cook the liquid and provide us with a tranquilo place to spend the night, not too close to city noises, and to provide us with basic guidance. We can of course contribute something reasonable to the family. I am more-or-less familiar with lowland Quichua culture – I speak highland Quichua and can get buy with lowland.
    At any rate, I found this site and wrote to Silverio’s address above but have not heard back. If you get a chance, please let me know what you think about visiting the Mamallacta family.
    Thanks,
    Simonides

      colono responded:
      Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 15:54 (704)

      For other readers: Keep in mind that life in the Amazon is quite different and email is not something everyone checks regularly. They might be working in the forest, far from computers, or just not be able to travel to town, since it can cost a dollar to get there and back, so quite a few platanos have to be harvested every time.

      If you leave a comment that includes your email, we will contact you in private and do our best to put you in touch with shaman families in the area.

      More and more people contact us for information about ayahuasca ceremonies in and around Tena, so we are working on a more comprehensive presentation, since we do not have the time nor the inclination to run an ayahuasca tourism shop.

      It won’t be soon, but it will be in collaboration with the families, who will be consulted and who will be in charge of the outcome, but we hope to present a website with a wealth of information about four families with whom we have worked and who offer shamanic healing in one way or another.

      Perhaps toward the end of the year……

        Jason Fenimore said:
        Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 16:01 (709)

        Si usted tiene alguna información sobre curandero’ s o curanderas’ queriendo enseñar (para un honorario, por supuesto) a un americano, que no habla tristemente español, las maneras de medicina de la planta, déjanme por favor saber.

        (babel fish translation above)

        If you have any information on curandero’s or curanderas’ willing to teach (for a fee, of course) an American, who sadly does not speak Spanish, the ways of plant medicine, please let me know.

          colono responded:
          Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 18:13 (800)

          It is rather difficult to do this without a common language.

          I suspect you are better off in Peru, or Iquitos to be more precise, where ayahuasca tourism is more common and there are translators in the centres.

    drama in the jungle. « Erica's SuperFashion Jungle Time Blog said:
    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 22:59 (999)

    [...] To check out Vicente’s almost unbelievable life, click here [...]

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