Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cost of Serving Ayahuasca

So there was a battle on Facebook today over whether people should charge money for ayahuasca or give it for free as it's medicine and if people need it they should get it. Let me frame my response, which you will see below: When I am in the jungle and one or two or ever three locals ask to drink the medicine, there is never a charge. Never. At my house there is never a charge, never. And I do not ask or want donations. I only serve people who have been on trips to the jungle with me, and they are in my charge forever, so they pay to get to the airport, I take care of the rest. That's the way to do it. Why don't I serve ayahuasca every two weeks to strangers for $200 bucks a pop? I'll tell you why. Because can you imagine if I thought I had 15 people coming over and was dreaming of $3000, and then only 9 showed, for $1800, can you imagine me saying to madeleina: Damnit, I thought we were getting three grand, and now we're not even making two grand!
   Sorry, I do not want to be that person, so I do not serve publicly. Two or three times a year, however, I serve former guests. And that is free. Not entirely for me, but it's my invite, so my cost. And I am very happy with that. But here is what I wrote in response to all the chatter of "do you pay?" or "It should be free". Both of which do not reach the point by any means.
Here you go:
Wow. Lot of opinions here. I'm sitting in Joshua, Texas. I do not serve the medicine to anyone who has not been on a trip to the amazon with me. For those who have, the medicine is free. But I know it's not free. It costs $100 a kilo to get the vine here (50 for vine, 50 for shipping), and a two liter batch will take 8-10 kilos of vine, or nearly $1000 dollars. The same for the chacruna, with shipping from peru, so that's another $1000. Then I will spend a day cutting wood for a fire, spend at least $500 to have someone pick people up from the airport on a Friday for a Saturday medicine event. Food for 10 people for Friday night and Saturday morning, and then Sunday breakfast will run maybe $300. I will pay two or three assistants $100 each to watch out for the clients. Then I will pay $500 to get people back to the airport on Sunday morning. Oh, and toss in $200 for house cleaning before and after they come. So I give 4-5 days, and spend $3500 or more to treat former guests and I'm happy to do it. I could not offer it to anyone else because I'd have to charge--I don't have a lot of $3500's hanging around, and I cannot allow myself to do it. If six people came, six people who were not on my former trips, I would have to charge them $600 to break even and then I would lose 4-5 days of normal work. Add that in and we'd be talking at least $1000 per person. So I give it freely and free to my friends. How anyone thinks it should be free to all amazes me. Maybe they do not spend what I do, but I don't think I'm special here.

Peter Gorman
Peter Gorman Even back in the old days, in 1984, '85 and such, I would always bring fishing nets, thread, hooks, salt, sugar, oil, new clothes and boots to the curandero. I mean, you spend a couple of hundred dollars on presents that the curandero needs and wants and save him/her a trip to town (in those days by dugout canoe, so it was saving them a whole day). So even that wasn't free. That was $200 in presents for a single ceremony just for me. Seemed very normal, considering I was going to ask the curandero to stop his life for two days for me. PS: I know the cost of things in Iquitos and the Belen Market and no, they dont come to an actual $200. But when you include the time to go there, and someone you pay to help carry the stuff--which generally also included a box of shotgun shells, a flat of flashlight batteries, a box of cheap lighters, mapacho, aqua florida, Tabu, and a couple of blouses and maybe pants or a skirt for his wife....well, it all added up.

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