5 Things We Can Learn From The Kayapo People in The Amazon Rainforest

By Shannon Gurnee
In Community
December 10, 2014
28 Comments
7740 Views

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I love to travel!  I’ve traveled to Russia, Mexico, Canada and different states throughout the U.S.  One of the things I love being about a blogger is sharing those experiences on The Mommy-Files.  Now, I want to start off by saying that I have never been to The Amazon myself, but I have virtually – that is through the experiences of others.  Most recently, it was on a trip with Pure Energies to the Amazon Rainforest, where they visited with the Kayapo people.

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Project Kayapo was underway when CEO of PURE Energies, Zbigniew Barwicz, and a small team led by the International Conservation Fund of Canada, headed to the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.  For almost two weeks, they lived alongside the indigenous Kayapo tribe.  They participated in the traditions of the Kayapo people and explored the Amazon.  A donation, as well as light, was provided by PURE Energies to each household.

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Who Are the Kayapo People?

The Kayapo people protect one of the largest regions of the Amazon Rainforest in the world.  The territory spans 10.5 million hectares (almost bigger than 50% of all of the countries in the world)!  Since the 1950s, the Kayapo people have successfully battled wave after wave of squatters, loggers, ranchers, miners and government officials to maintain their land and way of life.  With this way of life, PURE Energies found it inspiring and embarked on a journey to learn from the Kayapo people what independence, leadership and sustainability mean in the most remote corners of the world.  Plus, they brought them the power of solar light!

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5 Things We Can Learn From the Kayapo People 

One of the members of PURE Energies team shared with me her experience with the Kayapo people and what she learned from them.  When she first embarked on the journey, she wasn’t really sure what to expect – ya know, living without electricity, showers, beds and any other commodity we use in our daily lives?  It was temporary for her, but for the Kayapo people, it was permanent.  Here are 5 things she learned from her encounters with these inspiring individuals.

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1. You need less than you think.

We live in a world where constant advertisements, products and all kinds of companies are pushing images, videos and messages into our life about new things we should be buying and eating.  This makes it really difficult to live life simply.  It becomes difficult to not want that new pair of boots, or new iPhone, or even new home.  So our life becomes filled with “wants.”  In fact, many people base their their happiness on these wants and their journey in life becomes one to obtain them.  Perhaps the reason we feel like we need more and we continue to buy things is because once we’ve bought that item that took months to save for, we quickly realize that it didn’t make up as happy or changed our life as much as we had hoped.  We enter into an endless cycle of materialism that become almost impossible to escape.

The Kayapo people live modestly.  They don’t use money on an every day basis and they have very little material possessions.  Their happiness isn’t based on social status, wealth, material or even career development.  They don’t want to become CEO’s, doctors or lawyers, but rather they want to care for their families and make sure everyone in their community is happy and okay. See some beautiful footage of how they live here.

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2. Use your freedom.

On her trip, it took at least 3 days to get used to the fact that there were no scheduled meetings, no phone calls to make or emails to write (can you imagine that???).  He didn’t have to be home to make dinner or live according to all the things people expected from her and the rules that society surrounds us with to maintain order.

The Kayapo people live in perfect disorganization.  There is no dinner time, no specific calendar – no time for anything.  They live life as they feel it.  If they feel like swimming, they go.  If they are hungry, they hunt.  Kids are completely free.  No one is constantly watching over them and their every move.  They become free, fearless and self-sufficient at a young age.  

She learned that it was ok to break the rules and to take a Sunday to do nothing but what you want – relax, read, spend time with the people you love.  It’s ok to slow down from time to time.  We should take more time to enjoy the little things – the streets, the noises, the people around us.  We should take it all in and allow the things around us to inspire us.  We should live our lives at our own pace, rather than that of everyone else.

#PureEnergies #Amazon #Kayapo #ad 

3. Don’t be afraid.

After returning from her trip to the Amazon, she realized how many of the fears we have are actually constructed by other people.  We’ve adopted those fears as our own, which is pretty silly, don’t you think?  To be afraid of things just because we’re taught to be.  Before going on the trip, she was afraid of snakes, the scorpios, the piranhas, and all sorts of things people told her to be afraid of.  But when she got there, she quickly learned that while those threats were present, she just had to be careful – not afraid.

She was amazed by the Kayapo children!  They swam alone at 2 years old, held knives to make airplane toys, climbed crazy high trees and had the best time of their lives!  They weren’t afraid of the water or the forest because they weren’t taught to be.  The adults weren’t afraid of constant failure because their community didn’t make them that feel way.  Everyone had an integral role in the community and wants everyone else to succeed in their role.  There is no “I” with the Kayapo people – only “we.”

#PureEnergies #Amazon #Kayapo #ad

4. A smile goes a long way.

She spoke no Kayapo and her Portuguese wasn’t that great, but it was amazing how much a smile made a difference.  People are people everywhere.  We breathe the same and feel the same – we want to care for our families, find meaning in our lives and live happy and healthy lives.  In many ways, we are the same.  It’s amazing how a smile goes a long way in making people feel loved, comfortable, listened to.  A smile goes a long way in feeling empathy, joy and understanding.  If we all smiled a little more, our lives would be so much better!

The Kayap0 people are the most smiling bunch of people she’s ever met – and it really made a difference!  Everyone is calm, in a good mood and smiling at each other.  Life has it’s ups and downs, but  it’s up to each of us to see the good and recognize it.

#PureEnergies #Amazon #Kayapo #ad

5. Appreciate what you have.

She talked about how she’d never met such charismatic, loving, happy, nice people.  They protect the rainforest with their lives because it’s their home and because they love the land they live on.  It’s a land that gives them life.  It sustains their needs, provides them with food, home, shelter and a life.  They respect the land and its traditions.  They fight for their history and for what makes them the Kayapo people.  We don’t do this enough.  We need to learn to respect each other and to fight for each other and appreciate what we have.

I encourage you to follow the Kayapo project to watch never-before seen footage of these amazing people and the beautiful place they call home (it is also our home). You can watch it here.

#PureEnergies #Amazon #Kayapo #ad

About PURE Energies 

For PURE, independence means giving homeowners the decision to take control of their energy bill and to make their own choices. Gone are the days where energy is without options. We are entering a new era, where homeowners have the potential to generate and directly use their own power. Through this trip, the PURE Energies team learned the truest form of independence and conveyed those learnings to the homeowners of America.

Which of the 5 items shared above stands out to you the most?

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are mine. 

About Has 1258 Posts

Shannon Gurnee (formerly Shannon Gosney) is the author of The Mommy-Files, a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

28 Responses to “5 Things We Can Learn From The Kayapo People in The Amazon Rainforest”

  1. Mimi says:

    I definitely resonate with living with less (clutter/things). Keeping only the things you need and use often and keeping things that truly makes you happy will make your life more simple. It also helps with how we think and act. It creates more breathing space in your life, overall.

    I think having immersions like this can really change our perspective in life. Sometimes all we need to connect back to ourselves is to get away from all the technologies.

  2. Terry says:

    I think we all should appreciate what we have. The fact is… we have way too much.
    I had no idea that the Kayapo people protect one of the largest regions of the Amazon Rainforest in the world.

  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    It sounds like they really have a good system going for themselves.

  4. Sarah Bailey says:

    I can imagine there life is so free – away from the ties we give ourselves of electronics. I would love to learn more from them.

  5. What beautiful people! And I definitely agree with the first point – we ALL need MUCH less than we think we do!

  6. Coolchillmom says:

    Wow the amazon what a trip!
    You are right great learnings. Stopped on my tracks by the very first one

  7. I am a firm believer that we need less than we think. Quite a few times in my life I have sold my belongings, left things behind, moved with a few boxes of clothes and a few personal items. I don’t need stuff and things. I have told people this for years. My husband and I clash on that big time.

  8. Heather says:

    They sound like amazing people. We could learn a lot from them.

  9. Pam says:

    I am trying to realize that I need less than I think. It sounds like you can definitely learn a lot from these people.

  10. Lesley says:

    There’s a lot we can learn from other cultures and places. We are so backwards in the United States on so many levels, the peaceful tranquility of simplicity sounds like heaven to me.

  11. Pam says:

    Appreciate what you have. I am not sure we do that enough as a society and I know I don’t. I do appreciate what I have but there are days when many things are taken for granted. Less really is more.

  12. JEANINE says:

    Wow very interesting. I’ve realized a lot more lately that I have way more than I need and have been dealing with accordingly.

  13. This is such a great post and shows why travel is so important. We learn so much from seeing how other people and cultures live.

  14. This is a great post. It is so important to appreciate what you have.

  15. Sometimes less is more, we don’t need everything we have!

  16. Stefany says:

    These are great lessons. I often think about scaling back and living with less. I don’t think I could go to their level but would like to do it a bit.

  17. A smile can go a long way, it’s always nice to see a happy and welcoming smile!

  18. Cynthia R says:

    I wish I could travel more, I love it, it’s great we live in this internet age where we can still connect and travel virtually.

  19. What a lovely story! That is an amazing place to visit and learn the culture.

  20. Rosey says:

    There are times when I just walk in the house and realize how thankful I am for things even like heat or electricity. How amazing that we get to have so many ‘things’ here, but you’re right a small visit even, in an area that does not have these things would make you even more grateful (and far more likely to reach out to help others too).

  21. Rachelle J says:

    It’s so refreshing to see how simple other people live. Makes me want to simplify my own life!

  22. Amanda says:

    Oh my gosh! What beautiful photos. I would love to visit a place like this!

  23. Danielle says:

    I think that you need less than you think is one of those things I am trying to incorporate into my life. We are a society of consumers and I want to consume less and be happy with not acquiring more and more stuff.

  24. I think learning that you don’t need so much is a great lesson for the young people these days to learn. We live in a very materialistic society.

  25. Amanda Love says:

    It’s amazing to see how others live and realize that we truly don’t need half of the things we think we need. I would love to live the simple life.

  26. What an amazing experience! We travel a good bit, but I would like to do it more and to more diverse places. I’m not complaining, but somehow we always ends up on a beach.

  27. Helen Swarts says:

    Wow!! what a great post, we owe a lot to the KayapO people. We take so much for granted.

  28. Terra Heck says:

    It sounds like the Kayapo people know more about living than most of us do! It was interesting to learn about their culture.

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