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  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" <edggon@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2001 23:57:51 -0500 (CDT)

Dear Ron,

      I have a different story to tell. It was that I was in the same 
wonderful jungle place, but it was being deforested as fast as your eyes 
blink. There were too kind of Government people: Those that just don’t care 
about you (if you keep paying the taxes) and those that think you are some 
kind of enemy. If you are foreign, they may think you are stealing their 
plants to produce bioactive drugs that will be sold back to the natives from 
the same country for expensive prices. If you are a native yourself, they 
may think that you are collecting plants to sell to the foreign labs, so the 
suspicious is the same. They protect the plants from being collected, but 
everybody can destroy them! You can go collect without any authorization, 
but you will be arrested if someone opens the mouth. If you ask for the 
authorization, they will ask you a mountain of paper, including a detailed 
project (saying exactly WHAT you will collect and HOW MUCH of each species). 
You fill all the forms and it may take five to six months to have an 
authorization in your hands. It has to be done by all the participants of 
the Team. Remember: To bring plants (or animals, or rocks, or whatever) back 
to your country, you will need a different authorization… Ok, lets continue 
our “dream”. There are also two kinds of local people: those that think you 
are completely crazy (wise people) and those that want to steal your 
expensive camera. Both kinds are poor and are probably suffering from many 
of the “Third World Diseases”, like Cholera, Schistosomosis and Yellow 
Fever. Did I mention Malaria? Well, it is almost impossible to have all that 
group together, because some of the specialists have their permission 
denied. Some only had permissions for the next year. Some just gave off. 
There are also the people from the narcotraffic, which will shot you if they 
think you are from the Federal Police. Did I mention the guerrilleros? Yes, 
they will kidnap you as a vengeance against the Capitalism that you 
represent. Usually, they are even worse than the narcotrafficants, because 
they won´t accept money! Does it seem like a nightmare? Oh boy, welcome to 
the real world!!!
     Collecting plants in the 21st Century isn’t that easy. I know I seemed 
somewhat negative-minded, but I am only being candid about the facts. I have 
to face these problems everyday here. I really think it would be great to 
have such a group and I would love to be a part of it. However the reality 
is much harder than the expedition of your dreams. The plants we usually 
find in the field worth well the previous "Via Crucis", but the price is too 
high yet.


Eduardo (an aroid-lover from Brazil that thinks that Helicodiceros and 
Spathiphyllum are equal in mystery and beauty – stinky and fragrant are just 
human sensorial illusions)

P.S. Tomorrow I am leaving to the field again! :o)  Try to understand those 
crazy botanists...

>From: "Ron Iles" Reply-To: aroid-l@mobot.org To: Multiple recipients of 
>Sun, 29 Apr 2001 21:25:32 -0500 (CDT)
>Dear Aroid Collecting Friends,
>During a nightmare about gigantic Amorphophallus ravishing my Peace Lilies 
>I had a wondrous Dream. I will tell you the story!
>It was that I was in Team that had gone to this wonderful Jungle Place 
>never visited before, a bit like Roraima with waterfalls and swampy rivers, 
>and we found huge numbers of new kinds of the amazing plants that we all 
>love. In our Team there were also a few Ornamental Fish Collectors, 
>Butterfly, Moth and Bug Enthusiasts, Snake lovers, Bird Fanciers and 
>Anglers that we knew before or got quickly to know. They were all wowing 
>about in the water, the mud, the trees and the glades. It was a great time, 
>and it was a place where the Government people liked us being there as 
>Naturalists and willingly gave us permits to take back home some of the 
>things we had found. Everybody mucked in, and it was enormous fun. It was 
>much like I used to do in the woods of Somerset near where I was borne but 
>hotter with everything so much more brilliant and bigger like I'd always 
>dreamed about before. An Aladdins Cave of colour and fragrances, surprises 
>everywhere. And although we split into various little groups we all shared 
>what we found. Because there were a lot of us it made everything cheaper 
>and allowed us to stay even longer. Because it was such an important Team 
>Organisation, we got all the support we needed from the locals and the 
>officials. In the dream it became a regular thing several times a year 
>going to different places each time the same way. People in the Botanic 
>Gardens sometimes came and they advised us each time as to the best and 
>most worthwhile places to go so that they could share in what we found. It 
>was easier for them too I thought during the dream how amazing it was to 
>have teams of keen Naturalists joining together to do their collecting. Far 
>far better and more efficient than people going in ones and two's 
>uncertainly to places on DIY trips and collecting only the plants they want 
>when people back home might like so many things that didn't interest. And 
>maybe even better than some of the ecotourist holidays with the same old 
>find a monkey itineraries. In the dream with so many eyes and ears sharing 
>everybody got far more of what they wanted and together the Group could 
>look for everything that those who stayed at home wanted as well.
>Then I woke up and thought about it. I wonder if we could get together with 
>other eGroups and go on expeditions like in the dream to help everyone 
>whether they came or not. The Botanic Gardens, and Animal Collection 
>specialists would advise us and suggest the best places to go and even if 
>they didn't come along we could look out for everything they were 
>interested in. We might even get grants from Horticulture or Universities 
>or Government agencies or even Airlines if we became THE Tropical Rain 
>Forest Study and Collecting Group?
>Just a dream which we maybe could come true. I was thinking of spending the 
>Northern Winter in Tropical Asia on a DIY trip but I would be just as happy 
>to help organise something anywhere useful and best for everybody and maybe 
>help film and sound record it. Or do anything as part of a team. That is if 
>fellow members have keen eyes for new Peace Lilies.
>Are there enough people out there to make a team for the first of many 
>tropical wonder trips? If so when, where and what for? Perhaps the people 
>who are very experienced in Jungling could advise? Would you like to send 
>any suggestions to Ron Greenman in time for Winter 2001 travel, all offers 
>of special expert or general help appreciated. Or perhaps you know of an 
>expedition of people with very varied interests who are going already. I'm 
>cautious about commercial "Nature Tours" there are so many and maybe some 
>are more suited for people who are just Nature Spectators rather than 
>growers as well?
>Whether the Team comes true, the Dream was great.
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