The balance of life

About seven days ago Aurora (our new-born ‘Aguanina’) fell sick… she didn’t have a noticeable fever; there were no obvious signs, but all of a sudden she just stopped nursing. I wasn’t in the least bit concerned for the first couple of days – knowing from experience the babies often fall ill for a day or two then recover as quickly as it started – but by day three we were both getting a little disconcerted. The temperature here is hot, and milk is the only way that a baby obtains hydration, so by day three her skin was feeling loose, and there were other signs of serious dehydration. We started feeding her rice water to get some fluids in which, though it helped slightly for a day or so, (given she would only take very little) was not making much difference. So two days ago we took her to the hospital in Tarapoto…

On arrival at 7am the queue was extreme to say the least so we went instead to a private hospital, but the pediatrician was not due in until 4pm (because he was busy at the public hospital where we’d just been!) so making the decision that it was better for Aurora to wait until 4pm in a cool hotel room rather than just as long in a baking hot queue, we decided to head for breakfast before flipping the girls to a hotel. However over breakfast her condition took a dive – a long dive. So we headed straight over to the emergency room…

The doctors and nurses were great – we were seen immediately and within 10 mins she was on a drip to start getting some fluids back in her.

Unfortunately however, as Aurora was not nearly this bad two days earlier when we arranged our trip, we had organised a series of meetings for the same day so as not to have to take extra days away from our families (and they were the most important meetings we’d had in the five months since our arrival), so off we went, leaving Emma and Aurora at the hospital, to go and prepare for the first meeting…

We had a hotel organised so there was somewhere to work, and so this is where we left Jamil’s family (who had also come along with us) and Maia (our other daughter), whilst we got on with things. We were never away from the hospital (which was about 10 mins drive from the hotel) for more than an hour and a half, so this meant that we only ever had one hour to work! We basically spent 16 hours skipping between the hospital, the hotel and anywhere else we needed to be (this after being up at 2.30am to do the preparatory work for our meetings).

The most important meeting that day (which we still had documentation remaining to prepare for) was for the first ‘Custodians Agreement’ for Nemus Custodis (if you don’t know what Nemus Custodis (NC) is you need to read the earlier blogs). A core part of our plan of action with NC is to launch a global reserve currency which is backed by the oxygen of the forests and the minerals of the land, making natural resources more valuable in their natural state than if they had been mined or harvested, and so having only just completed all the formation procedures for NC a week earlier, we were ready to begin entering agreements with landowners (custodians) for the preservation of their lands. This first meeting in this regard was to conclude a deal with a gold mine owner (actually the owner of several mining concessions that were yet to be activated, i.e. no mining operations as yet) whereby he would agree that, for the duration of the concession (50 years or so), not to mine anything from the land or otherwise harvest the land in an unsustainable fashion. And the arrangement in question was to cover three mining concessions, covering a total of 2,300 Hectares, with assessment certificates for over 3.5 billion grams of unmined gold – the currency we could legitimately issue on the back of this one agreement alone would have been enough to accommodate a medium sized country, so we had to get on with it.

Whilst we were eventually able to conclude this deal on the first day, the fact that we were working in two languages (and I, who was actually writing the agreements, could only speak one of them) caused us to make a mistake, so we would need to redress this the following day and hope that our new partner was sufficiently patient to return.

Back at the hospital, Aurora was not really doing so well… she had some fluid in her at last from the drip, but was still refusing to feed, and when force-fed at doctor’s orders, was just throwing it back up again – she was still white as a ghost and unable to move her body properly. Worse still, they were yet to successfully obtain a urine sample (some 8 hours after admission) and so still had no idea what was wrong with her (blood and other samples having come back clean).

It was very difficult to coordinate everything – Maia was not allowed in the hospital at all (apparently children and pathogens don’t mix very well, which makes sense, but is nonetheless inconvenient), and by this point in the day was feeling very insecure and missing her mama – not really able to understand why she was not allowed to see her. And when I would stay in the hospital with Aurora so Emma could go and see Maia, it would just make things worse because she would have to leave again 10 mins later. So throughout all the meetings, I had Maia with me and of course had to give priority to her. In addition, the language barrier (although we have picked up some basic Spanish now, is by no means to a conversational standard) made it difficult to even gain entry past security to the hospital, let alone understand clearly what was going on whilst we were in there, so Emma spent the lion share of the day (and night) not really knowing what was going on. Fortunately, as always, Jamil was there to assist, and assist he did, but he would speak to one doctor and relay to me, then another doctor would come along to me and say something different, and we could never be inside together at the same time to get to the truth because someone had to be taking care of Maia!

Off yet again for meetings (this time with the president of an association which is charged with the protection and preservation of a 4,800 hectare mountain site on the border of Aguano Muyuna). The deal here is for our assistance with the continued preservation of the forests (i.e. assisting in the continued development and implementation of their preservation work plan) in return for rights to utilise the oxygen produced by the forests to back the currency – with this deal and the mine deal, we would have one symbolic example of both of the core asset groups of the new currency – hence the importance of the meetings.

Unfortunately this latter arrangement could not be concluded on the day – the association is more formal in its conduct than our friendly mine owner and so it was necessary for the usual pleasantries of invitations to partner and proposals for support to be undertaken prior to any actual agreements being made. The meeting was however still very much a success as we did manage to get most of those formalities concluded on the day and there exists an excellent relationship upon which to build… we will be continuing to progress on this front next week, and look set to conclude this particular arrangement in the next 14 days.

At 6am the next morning we receive a call from Emma – “come get me, we’re out.” So off we went… Aurora was still very sick, but the ER will only hold you for 24 hours after which you need to go to the hospital proper, but we had been told that it was fine to go home, just to return if things didn’t get any better. We had medication for (what had now been identified as) an infection and the now relatively high fever. But it was still quite cool (as it was still early) so we went to visit a piece of land that belongs to a friend in Tarapoto on the way back to the hotel. The previous week we had provisionally agreed a deal whereby we would have a one year option to buy this somewhat pricey property for a third of its real value… today we were there to advance things (with everything now set to be also concluded in the next 14 days). The site is approximately 100m x 40m with 100m of river frontage – it is THE prime location in Tarapoto (quiet, green and beautiful). The intention here is to build a New Earth Café (or something of the like) to serve as a combustion point for conscious activity in the city – linking the Aguano Muyuna project with the 300,000 people living in the neighbouring city. Whilst there, Aurora began burning up again, so we headed quickly back to the hotel, thinking this would be a great place for Emma and Aurora to rest for the day – cool bedroom, swimming pool etc – and pushed on with the job in hand (plus spending the best part of two hours journeying home in what would fast become a very hot day was not our preferred option). The hotel had a great seating area for holding meetings and the like so we were never far away this time…

Today’s order of business was concluding the mines deal that we had made a mistake on the previous day and meeting with the Director of the Regional Municipality to forge a partnership at the regional governmental level. The latter of which (like everything else on this most weird of adventures) was a resounding success. The Director of the Municipality’s main focus in his job is the protection and preservation of the environment – he worked in a 4th floor office, was radiating himself with a WiFi earpiece and spoke to us of the need to focus all attention on the health and well-being of our planet! Seeing the obvious dichotomy here, I led the conversation toward architecting a shift in perspective and awareness toward the natural world – that we were the ideal partner for him because if he supported our work to raise the level of conscious awareness in the people, he would no longer need to spend 90% of his annual budget fighting a battle he had little chance of winning. He got it… and so the playing field is well set for a substantial amount of support for the project (he also happens to be the regions go-to guy for international fundraising programs which I’m sure could come in useful sometime).

For the mine agreement, this time all would be in English so there would be no more mistakes. The day was a little less intensive than the previous one as we had done much of the leg work earlier and needed to wait until 3pm for the mining concession man to arrive again, so at last I had a chance to take a few mins out in the swimming pool with the kids. At 3pm we concluded the agreement (in little more than 5 mins), but our friendly mining concession partner had brought with him a friend… his friend was one of the largest traders of land in Peru and sympathetic to our project objectives. So then began several more hours of excellent discussions exploring possibilities for collaboration. By the time it got to 6pm we were finally ready to go home, but by then it was dark and we were tired and we still had a one hour drive down one of the most dangerous roads you can imagine, and a boat ride to contend with!

As I write, it is 9am the next morning and the girls have been asleep for the last 12 hours… I could do with a 12 hour sleep myself, but no rest for the wicked! I may have to return to Tarapoto again today (to pick up some new arrivals – which I’m very excited about – and get the food we didn’t have time to get in the last two days), and we have a full diary over the next few days, so were I not up at 5am writing this now I would likely never get the chance… Aurora is a little better and smiling again – she’s still very sick but heading in the right direction, so no doubt all will be well in the next day or two.

So that is the story in a nutshell… there’s actually enough other riveting stuff that happened for this blog to have twice the word-count than it does, but I’m mindful that this is already the longest post I’ve written to date, and have no desire to bore you…

Why did I call this blog ‘the balance of life’? Because just as always seems to be the case at this period in time, life dishes out so-called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in equal proportion… our challenge of course is to walk the middle road – to maintain presence and poise whilst the world around us continues on; to see the beauty in all things, all ways, all times. Here in Peru these same rules apply, however rather than a broken windshield on a fun shopping trip, you get a baby on deaths door coupled with a $150b deal representing a massive step in civilizational progress! Imagine the mental, emotional and physical test this represents and the personal growth on offer…

Not that I would wish to see Aurora go through any of this again but… I fucking love this place!

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