Being able to engage with the people and culture of Nangaritza changed my previous bias. I went into my trip with a stereotypical belief that what I heard and saw, such as: there not being plumbing or sleeping in huts. These misconceptions I received through the filtered lens of television, blur the accurate portrayal of life in the Amazon, unbeknownst to me that they live a relatively similar life compared to me.
We often take the liberty of assuming we know the stories of others. Media that what we are constantly exposed to denotes facts and attempts to change our opinion, and whether it’s on the Discovery Channel or Facebook, and it simply cannot compare to a physical experience. As a Barbadian, I have experienced similar interactions, where people believe I spend every day at the beach or that I only wear shorts and t-shirts. My experience in Nangaritza helped me to realize that I too hold my own preconceived notions as well.
So, I leave you with one small piece of advice: Enter every new relationship with the mentality that we are more similar than we are different, and the differences we have do not make us strange, but wonderfully unique.
By LeAundre “Dre” Knight, Programs & Services Intern