Meet the Maltese Woman Personally Documenting Ecuadorian Tribes

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When Mariah bought a one-way ticket to Ecuador, she had no idea things would fall into place the way they did.

From meeting indigenous tribes facing daily threats to their livelihoods to launching a documentary to educate the world on the importance of safeguarding their forests and rivers, Mariah’s wonderful and eye-opening journey has only just begun. .

“I remember in January when I left Heartspace (a brand that supports indigenous communities) in Malta, I felt so alone, and now I’m surrounded by five people who are so passionate and eager to be part of this documentary” , she says.

Lovin Malta spoke to Mariah while she resides in Ecuador to discuss her inspirational story and the fundraiser that has been launched for the upcoming documentary detailing the stories of indigenous tribes.

Mariah in Ecuador, founder of Heartspace

Where did it all start?

For those who know her in Malta, Mariah is a local artisan who creates handmade Maltese incense under the brand she founded, Heartspace.

“My passion for creating products started three years ago; However, I had no idea how much a product and the spiritual market can affect a culture,” Mariah told Lovin Malta.

“So when I realized that I could be part of the appropriation of cultures, I invested and took time to study and research the background of my product,” she said.

“That’s where I started my other passion; cultures – for my own interest, I have studied America’s spiritual practices and history.

“But one part of the world that really shocks me is South America. As of today in 2022, indigenous communities are being cheated, killed and driven from their own lands,” she explained.

“That’s where I found my purpose. I thought I was already in on it, why not take it a step further and do something to help?”

Mariah with one of the tribesmen

Mariah with one of the tribesmen

A one-way ticket to Ecuador.

“I lived in a hostel in Malta for an entire month, exposing myself to different people, the environment and the language. I made two very close friends from the hostel. One of them are now doing the documentary with me, and it happened last October,” she said.

“That’s where I met Jacob Watson, who is one of our team members, where I expressed to him that I wanted to do a documentary, six months ago,” she explained, stating that she would not have met him otherwise.

“Then I flew straight to the source, the Equator. I have a one-way ticket,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful country, heavily exploited, unfortunately.”

“Three months after exploring Ecuador and adjusting to my new surroundings, I went to a hairdresser and got my hands on the contact of a person called Teo, who is the main character in the documentary” , she explained.

“Jacob messaged me a few days after telling me he was on his way to Ecuador alongside his friend Eleonor to do the documentary with me. I was in absolute excitement and bliss!

“It all happened, in just three days. It’s a lesson I learned here from a special person, Juan, is to trust, to trust that things will fall into place, the things you dream of will come true,” she said.

The whole team behind the documentary Guardians of the Pachamama

The whole team behind the documentary Guardians of the Pachamama

The documentary: Guardians of the Pachamama.

As we speak, Mariah is currently working on filming a documentary to educate the world about these unsustainable practices: Guardians of Pachamama.

“The documentary, titled ‘Guardians of the Pachamama’, means those who protect our land. These are not only the natives, but the river, the animals, the trees, the wind, the sky, the sun and the moon. They are all guardians that we need to start seeing as allies rather than enemies,” she explained.

“The main intention of this documentary is education. When I asked questions, especially to Kichwa communities, they said that lack of education is what drives indigenous people to sell their land to billion dollar companies for little money and that these companies are also destroying the forest and the river.

“In this documentary, we want to educate the rest of the world and also the indigenous people themselves about their importance, to us and to the environment.”

“They protect 80% of the biodiversity that remains in the world. We will also have exclusive interviews with native people who work with these companies and what they have experienced with them,” she said.

“We will go to the nearest town to Yasuni National Park which is called the town of oil companies. And finally, we will live with the Waorani tribe, the last tribe contacted in the Amazon, and we will ask their opinion and do what they want to do,” she explained.

In the meantime, they will live completely off the grid, hunting for food and living in the middle of the jungle.

“It’s about awareness and education, people know little about these tribes and how they replant every day; bring life back to the earth. We hope that some people, especially important people, will start taking action against these companies. Not only do they put their identity at risk, but also the environment,” she stressed.

Tribal people in Ecuador

Tribal people in Ecuador

And they need your help!

Mariah, on behalf of the documentary team, has just launched a fundraising platform for people to donate and in turn contribute to this amazing new project. Donations are accepted on this page.

“We need the support of people in Malta and around the world to make this documentary a success. It is not a profitable project, all the funds go to the natives themselves who help us with this trip and the interviews,” she explained.

“We will also be buying stationery and toys for the Waorani and Kichwa children in hopes of inspiring them.”

“I recommend everyone to learn more about these tribes and their importance. To realize that they are taking care of the lungs of the earth – if the forest is gone, we are gone.

Check out the trailer for the documentary here:

Share this article if you like what Mariah is doing and think more needs to be done to protect the Forest Tribes

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) isn’t busy writing about environmental injustice, she’s likely fighting for women’s rights. Follow her @saaxhaa on Instagram and send her all things environment, art and women’s rights on [email protected]
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