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Mayoruna-Matses Eye Examination

Explorers Club Amazon Expedition

Page 2 of 5

Equipped with eye examination equipment and over 200 pairs of glasses the expedition began on the Javari (Yavarí) River in Brazil and Peru where members of the Matis, Marubo, and Mayoruna Tribes were examined and fitted for eyewear.  Later the expedition visited Ticuna and Yagua communities in Colombia near the Amazon River. The fact that the eyeglasses were dispensed to the natives for free made for positive relations, especially with natives who were familiar with western medicine and eyeglasses. Although eyeglasses were foreign to some elder individuals, they accepted wearing glasses after they realized they will only have to wear them for near vision tasks such as craftwork, stringing beads, and making hunting equipment.

Many of the the medical examinations were made in the offices of UNIVAJA (Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley, at that time called CIVAJA) with the help of their president, Jorge Oliveira Duarte (a Marubo), and vice president, André Chapiama Wadick (a Mayoruna-Matsés).  The former president of UNIVAJA (Clovis Rufino Reis) and his sister (Linda Marubo) were also present and helped us provide this important medical aid to local indigenous tribes (Marubo, Matis, and Mayoruna-Matsés).  The medical eye exam of André Chapiama reveled that he was suffering from pterigia ("carnosidades") which are growths in the eye due to excessive ultraviolet light exposure and he began using sunglasses in order to minimize future problems.

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