All Hallows was honoured to welcome Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, president of the Federation of the Huni Kui, an indigenous group in Brazil, to take a special assembly. Hot foot from the stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Ninawa shared with the children the experience of living life in a village deep in the Amazon rainforest.
Talking through an interpreter, Ninawa explained about the sustainable life they lead and how the forest is able to supply all their needs for food and medicines – this is vital when you live 4 days travel by boat to the nearest city! The children heard how the rainforests are being destroyed to support livestock when, in actual fact, the livestock are not needed to sustain their way of life. Ninawa’s people hunt responsibly for the food they need, always in a way that is sustainable to the forest. Ninawa explained to the children how the Amazon are the ‘lungs’ of our Earth and they need cherishing and protecting, especially at this time when they are under threat from deforestation.
After sharing stories of life in deep the rainforest with the children, Ninawa opened up the floor to questions. As always, the children came up with some great questions including “how do you brush your teeth?”, “what do you eat?” and “how do you sleep?” (in a hammock), where is the favourite place you have visited? (he could not say – he is always happy when he is back in the forest!) and what sort of boat do you use? (a hollowed out tree but they do use a motor on it now to help save time). With the children still bursting with questions, the assembly was drawn to a close with everybody holding hands and joining in with an ancient chant.
The children at All Hallows have been following environmental issues with great interest this year with campaigns to reduce the use of plastics, support for protests against climate change and the launching of an eco-committee as well as raising money for environmental charities such as Surfers Against Sewage, Aqua Aid and the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Meeting Nanawa was a perfect way to finish the year and certainly an experience that the children will remember for a long time – it’s not every day you meet an Amazon rainforest Chief – and the children left bubbling with ideas about how they might be able to support this community in the year ahead.