The indigenous people in the territory of the Cuyabeno National Park live a hybrid life between traditions that are thousands of years old and civilized world amenities like tuna cans that last like five years until the content may spoil.
For visitors this is still a pretty unknown way of life.
What they do to share some of their values and habits and what they cook to make the tuna hold in their hands this little text will show you.
It was Novemer 2014 when I arrived in Lago Agrio to wait for the four-day-tour including accommodation, food, guides and activities in the Cuyabeno National Park.
The package contained a visit of the indigenous tribe nearby.
Seeing the shaman and helping them cook traditional Casabe was on our agenda.
By boat is the most convenient way to travel in the evergreen and dense rainforest and so we stopped at a river bank quay just an hour from our Jungle lodge to meet an indigenous woman and her tribe.
The houses where of simple construct, though they had a satellite antenna, which amazed me and displayed the close connection to the westernized rest of Ecuador.
The lady led us to the backyard of these houses into the community garden.
In short time we had enough Yuca roots
digged out of the ground that we would go back to the community house.
There we all could try making “Casabe” which is a flat bread made from Yuca. With a big and home-made grater we rubbed all 7-9 Yuca roots so that they became a white powder, that had to be dried with a special cramp made with palm fiber. The water from this process is a great and powerful drink, but quite tasteless.
Now having finest and dry powder the woman put a handful of it onto a plane stone plate over open fire. After a few minutes she turned the bread and waited until it was baked nice and crispy.
The Casabe was ready and came with bespoke tuna cans and some home-made chili paste made with Yuca. The taste of all three ingredients together was great and it was a memorable experience to see the process from the root to the bread.