Opening of the TARGET Waiapí Rainforest Clinic
We were able to celebrate the opening ceremony on 17th August 2012. This wonderful, warm day was the culmination of a construction period lasting only ten months. As well as high-ranking officials from the competent authorities in Brasilia, over 200 Indians came to the ceremony, all wearing their ceremonial clothing. They were very impressed, calling it a showcase project which would be unique in the rainforest. Over the coming weeks the SESAI medical authority will provide medical equipment and medical staff for the premises.
"A dream has come true for us today" Chief Kumaré said at the opening ceremony, "at last we are able to treat many of my tribe's illnesses here in the forest."
Until now the Indians have had to travel to the town of Macapá for most of their examinations and treatment. There they were forced to adopt the lifestyle of the white population, and often became infected with other illnesses.
The premises is comprised of three buildings: laboratory, residential building for the staff and the circular building for the patients. The Indians decorated it with their traditional paintings, and it represents the centrepiece of the project. It has even been declared a World Heritage Site, due to the unique nature of the Waiapí paintings.
Rüdiger fought successfully for the rights of the Yanomami Indians for 20 years, and in the year 2000 they at last received an acceptable protected status. We then approached them and built a first small emergency aid station for them in 2003. With the current Rainforest Clinic project, we are supporting the wish of the Indians to be able to live self-determined lives in their ancestral forest. As long as they remain true to their homeland, the Brazilian constitution protects them from the clutches of the wood and mineral industries. And for us this project represents a modest contribution to preserving a wonderful area of primary rainforest for the rest of the world.