The loss of a forest guardian.
We have some very sad news. Marcial Sinchicama, the former president of our partner community Cutivireni, has died.
He was the brave leader of a community that continues to fight for its ancestral lands. His vital work ranged from helping grow Cool Earth’s Projects to 16 Asháninka villages to meeting with Peru’s Minster of Environment to highlight the Asháninka’s cause.
At just 43 years of age, Marcial has been evacuated to hospital twice in the last month. Each journey involved more than ten-hours by boat and truck, especially grueling for someone gravely ill.
On his first visit to hospital he was discharged with anemia and told to go home. Just two weeks later Marcial collapsed and again had to be evacuated, this time to a larger hospital further away.
The costs of Marcial’s treatment quickly ran into the thousands of dollars – particularly from the blood transfusions he needed. Thankfully, Cool Earth’s funds covered his treatment. Many indigenous people in Peru are not so lucky and would’ve been refused treatment outright.
It turned out that Marcial had malaria.
But by this time he had already suffered devastating damage to his liver and kidneys.
Marcial died yesterday. Cool Earth is hugely saddened by the loss of such a loyal and kind friend.
Malaria is entirely preventable and treatable, yet more than one in ten Asháninka will die from the disease.
In Marcial’s village, Cool Earth saw the prevalence of malaria drop from 60% of the population to 30% after the provision of mosquito nets. Despite this success, we feel that any death from malaria is a senseless tragedy.
This year, we’re working hard with our Asháninka partners to ensure they have access to basic healthcare and that they get the treatment they deserve when in hospital.
A strong village means a safe forest.