The Riosbo Construction Project

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Ayahuasca Foundation Riosbo research centerI received an unusual email in October of 2013.  It was an offer to fund the construction of an ayahuasca research center, provided I would head up the project.  If I refused, then there would be no project.  It might seem like a slam dunk decision.  How could I say no?  Well, I knew that it was no small endeavor, and that it would consume a great deal of my time and energy, and I would be tackling something brand new to me.  I had managed the construction of rustic camps, but this was not going to be a few simple huts in the jungle, this was to be an enormous facility with state of the art equipment, in the jungle.  I had total freedom (or responsibility) to make all of the decisions, like where it would be located, what it would actually be, and how it would operate.  I already had a great relationship with the funder and did not foresee any issues with that aspect of the project.  Things were pointing towards accepting the offer, but I admit I was afraid of the magnitude of such an undertaking.  This was a big project.  Could I actually pull it off?

I decided to do a plant dieta in solitude to focus and figure things out a bit better.  I went out to the Inkan Kena School and holed up in a hut for eight days; no talking, no walking, no eating, just reading, writing, and smoking my pipe.  I hiked out of there with the architectural drawings and business plan for the Riosbo Ayahuasca Research Center.  I knew where it would be located, who would staff it, and how it would operate.  I had figured a lot out and had definitely decided to accept the offer, which I did.  What I did not foresee was all the red tape that I would have to wade through before the construction actually began.  Part of that was my fault, because the location where I decided the center would be built was inside a National Reserve.  Surrounded by 55,000 hectares of untouched rainforest, the land sits in one of the most pristine and gorgeous locations possible.  It is literally a paradise.  However, even though I had purchased the land in April of 2014 and had the title to the land, thanks to it being privately owned prior to the formation of the reserve, I would still need official authorization to build on the land.  This process would take over a year to complete and would cost me over $10,000 in fees.  Talk about a test.

Finally, in June of 2015, we were able to begin construction.  Without any road access to the site, all materials would have to be brought by boat.  My plans were for a facility that would be over 11,000 square feet, so that would mean several dozens of tons of materials would need to be loaded and unloaded onto and off of boats.  The logistics of the project were quite frankly flabbergasting.  Somehow, through seeming miracles and perhaps a bit of magic, construction actually began and has progressed smoothly.  We are nearly to the half way point, but there is still a long way to go.  There are still some serious logistical challenges to be overcome, problems to be solved, and concepts to be worked out.  It’s been an amazing journey thus far and I am so proud of all the people involved who made this project what it is and what it shall be.  I look forward to the completion of the Riosbo Ayahuasca Research Center.

The Ayahuasca Foundation's Riosbo ayahuasca research center in Peru