How many names do you have? Me, I’ve been called a lot of names, some properly, others a chop-chop of my name, some call me by the name of another person while others call me by simply: Edward.
Well, I even did a paragraph explanation of my name evolution in my bio in this blog. But today I wanna share one very cool name that was given to me.
(drum roll please)
It is my Amazonian name in the Kichwa language. It is my Amazonian name J in the Kichwa language. It is the name of the famous bullet ant in the amazon rainforest. (see exhibit #1 for reference.)
This ant is a brave one, doesn’t really go with the group, a bit stubborn (a bit like me, haha) and ready for action once you threaten it. In fact, it is famous for having the nastiest sting ever in the ant kingdom. During the same night, I got baptized with my Amazonian name, a Conga (the Spanish name for Yuturi) was roaming in the place where we were. The tribesmen showed me my little soul brother on the ground. I didn’t see him smile, he is a bit snobbish!
Last April, I went with a large group of young people willing to get to the border of the Amazon rainforest to share in the daily lives of tribesmen. We wanted to experience at least a day of how they live in the jungle and find out the values they keep up to this day.
This opportunity was really a dream come true for me. A #bucketlistcheck because during my high school days, me and my cousin would watch documentaries about the amazon and I would always say, “I’m gonna visit that place one day”.
The baptism and feeling like Ang: The Avatar.
I don’t know if you have already watched the cartoon series, Avatar: The legend of Ang. Well, if you did, you might remember that Ang has this glowing arrow tattoo in his head. No, I didn’t get that glowing arrow tattoo, relax. Well, it just really reminded me of Ang when I got instead a red line stroked in my forehead when I received my oh-so-awesome Yuturi name!
Okay, I’m digressing, pardon me.
So, we arrived at around 9PM in the town of Puyo which is in the frontier of Ecuador and the Amazon Rainforest. We were welcomed by around 60+ tribesmen of the Shiwakucha tribe. They didn’t really look like the ones you imagine who live with the bare necessities and no, they weren’t naked nor had bodies full of tattoo. They dressed up like the usual people in remote areas and in fact they have already adopted Spanish as their second language.
There was a ceremony to welcome us to the tribe where we will spend the night and the whole of the next day. Dances varying from a group of girls, then adolescent girls, a couple and of course, us.
After the dances, the baptismal rites began. An old man, the chieftain, came forward with a coconut shell in his hand. In this, there was a crimson-red pigment from a certain Amazonian fruit. One by one, each one was called in their given name, and then he dots your head with this liquid red pigment and strokes a line in your forehead. He looks at you and tells you your Amazonian name. Another young lad, Nadino helps in the translation from Kichwa to Spanish so that we could understand
When it was my turn, well, I honestly felt uneasy. Not because I was scared, obviously, there’s nothing to be afraid of. But because, I couldn’t remember how I was baptized when I was a kid. Can anyone remember? You, can you remember yours? Kidding!
Anyway, when he pressed his finger on my forehead and stroked that red line, I felt magical powers rushing through my veins. I started levitating. It was really nice! Nah, I was just kidding!
Yeah, it was really nice! He talked in Kichwa and I was trying to comprehend. Eye to eye. And I held his hands and said “Gracias, gracias”. It is one of the coolest things that ever happened in my life. I became an ant! Hahaha! I became Yuturi!
There were also a lot of other names I noted down, all in Kichwa and I am not sure of the spelling, but don’t be picky! Here they are:
- Inti – Sun
- Pacha – Waterfall
- Panga – Green Leaf
- Rumi – Rock
- Kawsay – Life
- Kuri – North
- Amazanga – Spirit of the Forest
- Zuma – Beautiful
- Sikwanga – Tucan
- Nyampin – Road / Path
- Yacha – Wisdom
- Ingaru – Strong and wise
- Tulumba – Frog
There are still a lot things I saw in the Amazon rainforest and I will be sharing them in my next post so expect me to bring you deeper into the ant hole! Hahaha!