"Why are we sitting here?

We are dying!”

Andrei

Menchuk

is 41 years old.

In Belarus, he was engaged in interior decoration, worked with decorative plaster.

His wife

, Yulia,

is 28. She has an economic education and worked in the "Imaguru" business hub.

They have two children:

Fiona is

6 months old,

Makar

is 3 years old.

Makar in a Peruvian village

The plan to radically change life matured gradually.

Andrei is tired of living in Belarus.

I felt that there is a lot of consumerism, materialism, envy in him.

"There is enmity, it is felt in the air.

People try to be nice to each other, but they are afraid of each other.

Here (in Peru. — RS) I saw that people love each other, want to be in community," says Andrey.

He realized that he did not want to live in Belarus all his life.

His way of life ceased to correspond.

Belarus admits that cars, equipment, and things were very important to him before.

But when he began to be interested in the spiritual, going to Vipassana (a method of meditation from India. — RS) near Minsk, he realized that the most valuable thing for him is people and communication.

Andrei met Yulia at the graduation ceremony.

Andrei in Peru

Three years ago, the couple sold an apartment in Minsk.

They went to the village, built a house there.

It is believed that this time was preparation for a great journey.

Julia was not afraid to go across the ocean with small children, because it was her initiative.

Depression started in her in Belarus.

Everything seemed uniform.

Julia says that she was "dying inside".

"I have been pestering Andrei for the past three years: "Let's change something!

I don't like it here.

We need something completely different!" I slipped him some ayawaska, then something else.

"Look how interesting it is!

Why are we sitting here?

We are dying! I couldn't wait closer to the departure date," recalls Yulia.

Andrei confirms that at first he was afraid to go to the unknown.

Hammocks, construction tools, pampers

In the end, the couple sold all their possessions.

They decided to fly to Peru.

They wanted to go to a country that was as different as possible from Belarus in terms of lifestyle, so Europe fell away immediately.

Stopped in South America.

They chose the city of Iquitos, but planned to move to the village later.

Relatives reacted differently to their decision, but in the end they accepted it.

Things were collected for several months.

From the luggage there was a huge tourist backpack and two small ones.

They took diapers, clothes.

They bought hammocks with mosquito nets, awnings, construction tools.

Peruvian village

"If we didn't find a place to stay, we would start building our own house," says Andrei.

The couple was not particularly afraid for the children.

They were not given any special vaccinations before the trip.

Late for the plane

The couple had $10,000 for the trip.

They flew through Istanbul.

Purchased tickets to Peru for New Year's Eve 2024 for $2,800.

It is considered inexpensive.

However, the family was late for the plane.

They arrived at the airport in advance, went through all the checks and went shopping.

"We didn't even think of looking at the clock, because we were sure that we would definitely not be late, even against the clock," Andrei recalls.

When they looked at the clock, there were 15 minutes left before boarding.

They ran, but still did not make it.

There was no thought of returning home.

They were looking for new tickets for several days.

Finally purchased for $4700.

This was the main reserve of their money for the trip.

"My house is your house"

When the family flew to Iquitos, they already had about $3 thousand in their hands.

They spent a week in a hotel in the city.

Then they decided to move to the village.

For this purpose, they bought a boat from a master for $450.

"The boat is the main form of transport here," Andrei explains about the future path.

While they were sailing in search of the village, they got into a heavy downpour.

Finally, Andrei stopped and went to the shore.

It was the village of Mishana.

A Belarusian was looking for a shaman there.

In Peru, it is called a curandera.

So he came to Bernardino's house.

Shaman Bernardino

Belarusian prepared an address to the shaman in Spanish in advance, but it was difficult for him to read, so he handed the phone with the text to the host, and he read it himself.

In his address, Andrei explained that he was tired of living in Europe and wanted to change it.

You can listen to the entire speech here:

"My house is your house," Bernardino said as he read the address.

Bernardino lives alone.

Previously, he had many students from Australia, the USA, and Europe.

So the family settled with a shaman.

They do not pay for house rent and education.

But they buy products, join the communal payments in the village: water pumps, solar panels, internet connection.

Crossing by boat in the jungle

On the Internet, they go to the city, cook on firewood

Living in a city in Peru can be compared in terms of costs with living in Minsk, Andrei suggests.

The exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the Peruvian salt is almost 1:1.

However, mobile communications and fuel are more expensive in Peru.

Vegetables and fruits are cheap, but potatoes are more expensive than in Belarus.

In the village you can collect fruits in the jungle, fish in the rivers for free.

Many villagers do not have paid work, but live from their subsistence farming.

They cook food on firewood

A couple cooks food on wood.

They go to the city on the Internet.

Their children play with local children, swim in the river.

Recently, a football competition between teams from other villages was held in Mishan.

Children on the river in a Peruvian village

Children on the river in a Peruvian village

Andrei cannot describe his ordinary day in the village of Amazonia.

"In the environment where I used to live, you could accurately describe your day.

You describe one day - and with that you describe all your days.

And here you plan something for tomorrow, and everything happens differently.

We are planning to go to the Selva to finish building a house, and in the morning a tropical storm starts for half a day and you are not going anywhere," he explains.

Now the couple has "well under a thousand dollars" left.

They both do not work anywhere and do not earn money.

They do not know what they will live on.

They say that now they manage with a minimum of money.

"I think that there will be enough for everything," says Andrei.

Belarusians talk about life in Peru in their blog.

"It's a slightly altered state"

Andrei's main occupation is studying to be a shaman and, together with Bernardino, rebuilds a temple for ceremonies in the jungle.

He spends all his time with the shaman.

In the jungle, he shows medicinal plants.

Teaches a Belarusian to sing ikaras - chants that a shaman performs during ceremonies.

Bernardino rebuilds a temple in the jungle

In addition, Andrei goes through the Ayahuasca ceremonies.

Ayahuasca is a vine that grows in the jungle, a decoction from it, and also the name of the ceremony itself.

Andrei says that it is necessary to go through 20-30 ceremonies to feel the effect.

He passed five.

They take place at night, every other day (the ceremony is connected with the use of hallucinogenic substances contained in vine juice, they can harm health - RS).

During the Ayahuasca ceremony

During the ceremony, the shaman conducts rituals, sings ikaras, plays noisy instruments and gives the person a decoction to drink.

It begins to act after 20-30 minutes.

"You concentrate on the sounds and go deeper into meditation.

You can lie down.

This state continues throughout the night.

You stay alone with yourself, with your thoughts," Andrei shares.

According to him, every ceremony changes something in the mind.

During the Ayahuasca ceremony

But at the same time it can make you sick.

During the cycle of ceremonies, the organizers advise to keep a diet and abstain from sex.

"This is a changed state in which you feel and understand a little more what is happening around you and what is happening in your head," the interlocutor explains.

According to him, everyone experiences the Iowan ceremony in their own way.

"There is no such thing as Ayahuasca teaching universal things.

To each his own," says Andrei.

He claims that he has already found answers to some questions in Peru.

For example, communication with people is more valuable for him than things.

There was more joy in life, I began to smile more.

He says that other people notice positive changes in him: that he has become more creative, proactive, free.

The inhabitants of Mishany village are happier than the Belarusians, Andrey believes

"Earlier in Belarus it was 50/50.

At first everything is normal, and then you go and suffer.

Now there are less and less traumatic experiences.

I rejoice more fully, more broadly, more deeply," says Andrei.

Yulia is currently breastfeeding her child, so she cannot combine it with Iowa.

However, I would like to go through it when the children grow up.

She says that she also began to rejoice more in Peru, instead of suffering.

"We will invite tourists here"

Andrey cannot say what the ultimate goal of the Iowan is.

"It happens by itself and not the way you imagined.

If I'm sick with something, I can't imagine the state when I'm healthy," he explains.

He says that he began to feel his purpose.

He thinks that it is connected with helping people.

He admits that his way of life is not suitable for everyone.

However, he assumes that there will be those who will be interested in him.

When asked if Ayahuasca are not medieval practices, Andrei says that to think like that is condemnation, "and condemnation is a disease."

Shaman Bernardino

“If someone likes living in the slums of Belen, that's fine.

If someone likes living in a New York penthouse, that's fine too.

You can't condemn a person for his choice," he thinks.

In the future, the couple plans to make money from tourists.

Andrei is now learning to conduct ceremonies on his own.

They plan to do this in the church, which is now being rebuilt from Bernardino.

"We will invite tourists here to rest, heal, improve their well-being," says Andrey.

Belarusians think that they will live in Peru for one or two years.

They need to earn money for tickets if they want to change their place of residence.

They are thinking of going to Australia next.