THE RECCE TO THE SIERRA NEVADA, COLOMBIA
John Blashford-Snell (JBS) and a recce team have just returned from a fascinating visit to the Tairona people in the remote Sierra Nevada mountains. The people believe that the white men or “younger brothers” are destroying the world.
JBS and the Wiwa villagers with the Jersey Flag
The recce started at Valledupar on the South side of the mountains and accompanied by a Kankuamo indian, SES representative in Latin America, Yolima Cipagauta and JBS met the Tairona governor of the region and several officials. They then conferred with various Mamos (Tribal Elders) before going up to several Wiwa villages and later visiting Kankuamo and Kogis settlements.
As advised by SES Member HSH Grand Duke Leopold d’Arenberg, who visited the area last year, they made it plain that they had come to learn and the Mamos responded well. Their main requirement was to build a new training school, where they could preserve the traditions and culture and educate the younger people. The Tairona suffer from various health problems including Chagas disease and they would also appreciate medical and dental aid as well as school books and advice on agriculture. The Kogis village of San Jose had a high rate of infant mortality due to a lack of protein which might be overcome with the appropriate crops, poultry and livestock. They are also keen to set up a fish farming project.
The Mamos asked the team to support them by spreading their beliefs on conservation to the wider world and JBS has started on this.
The recent UN announcement on climate change will have encouraged the Tairona.
It is felt there is much that can be done to help and we hope this initial visit will open the way for a future expedition.
Colonel John Blashford-Snell is one of the world's most renowned and highly respected explorers. JBS supports and works with numerous charities working with underprivileged youth in the UK as well as undertaking countless community aid projects in remote parts of the world.