Monday, October 20, 2008

Francisco Mahua, Shaman Extraordinaire

It is with great sadness and regret that I have to mention the killing of Francisco, 'Pancho' Mahua. I don't quite understand what happened but what I gather is this: Pancho Mahua, singer , Shaman, lineage holder of the Shipibo Konibo tribe, only 48 years old, was on his way back from his urban home close to the Yarina Cocha, Pucallpa to his ancestral home in Pao Yan, deep in the forest. He had been working steadily for months on end, doing ceremonies, hosting visitors, teaching and odd jobs. Finally he had saved some funds and was on his way to back to his love Isabella, and some of his children including a handicapped new born baby girl.

On this long boat ride over the Ucayali river it is not uncommon that arguments break out amongst a fair amount of drinking. This must have been the case, since in a scuttle Pancho Mahua was killed and thrown overboard. His body has yet to be found, though it is sure that Pancho Mahua died from his injuries.

It is hard to describe the incredible loss of such a bright light as Pancho Mahua, skilled in so many aspects of the complex inheritance of the Shipibo tribe. Pancho could fish, he could built traditional houses, he chanted like no other, and was singled out for his healing acumen and advice. He was a tribal leader, a great friend and father and lover of many, with an uncanny sense of humor and flawless theatrics.

Oh God, How we all will miss Pancho,

ps. check out some of his videos on the Youtube channels Ecoversity and Kanseki1 (in particular Report from the Forest)

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