The Manuyama Family
Oscar Manuyama is the eldest brother of the Manuyama Family. He has worked over 33 years in the tourist industry in a variety of ways, and continues to give tours of the Amazon through his company Jungle Adventures when there are no ayahuasca retreats in progress. Outgoing and friendly by nature, Oscar's love of good conversation and meeting new people from all over the world have helped him be a successful tour guide for many years.
Oscar first tried ayahuasca in 1986 and attributes it to many profound changes in life, including giving up alcohol, eating healthier, and forming more sincere, honest relationships with his friends and family.
Oscar has worked at 10 different ayahuasca retreats over the past 27 years. After seeing the poor conditions and greed rampant at many of these retreats, and with a lot of encouragement and help from friends and family, Oscar decided to build his own ayahuasca retreat near his family in the town he grew up in - Padre Cocha.
Mario & Claudia
Claudia is the youngest of the Manuyama siblings. She and her husband Mario both work at Ayahuasca Oasis. Claudia helps with cooking and cleaning. Mario leads walks through the jungle and helps with general maintenance of the center. Claudia would like to begin training to be a shamana (there are very few female shamanas in Peru) after her third boy is born this April! Mario also works as a mototaxi driver servicing the area around Peru. After you have left Iquitos and taken the short 30-minute boat ride to Padre Cocha, Mario will probably pick you up at the Nanay River boat dock to drive you the rest of the way to the retreat center.
Humberto is the third oldest of the Manuyama siblings. He is an expert on butterflies, having previously worked at a butterfly farm. Currently he is constructing a large butterfly house on the Ayahuasca Oasis property. Here retreat guests can see a variety of Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) native to the Amazon jungle, and learn about their life, feeding habits, metamorphosis, and the importance of butterfly conservation. Many of the flowering plants growing at the Center have been selected to attract butterflies. With an extensive knowledge of medicinal and edible plants, as well as butterflies, in his spare time Humberto works to educate children and adults in the surrounding communities and plants, butterflies, and gardening.
Anselmo and César are brothers from the Yahua tribe and have been shamen for over 40 years. They come from a family of shamen and learned the tradition from their grandfather, who guided them as teenagers, in order to to escape conflicts with neighboring tribes, on a 15 day walk from the small village where they were born along the Putamayo River near Colombia, through the thick Amazon jungle, to a place near the Momón River. They continue to live there today, not far from Padre Cocha and the Ayahuasca Oasis Healing Center, along with several other Yahua Indians.
There are only 4,000 to 6,000 Yahua left in Peru. The Yahua still use blow darts to hunt for their meals in the Amazon jungle. The darts are dipped in poison extracted from a vine. You may have the chance to visit their village and take part in a blow dart demonstration.
The powerful icaros that Anselmo and César sing during the ayahuasca ceremonies are a blessing to experience.