Photo © Simon Monk

Mo on a Filming Assignment in the Ecuadorian Amazon

2010 Travel Film Scholarship winner Mo Soliman travels to Ecuador to capture the lives of communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Mo Soliman from Egypt,
Winner Film Scholarship 2010

Mo's assignment was to help document sustainable tourism projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Ecuadorian Serenades

Finally landed in Quito, Ecuador after a 44-hour journey! But it was worth it :) Coming from Egypt, it was such a refreshing sensation to see all this greenery. And then going through the old city it felt like I went back in time. As if nothing has changed since the Spanish were here... little cobble streets and little two-storey homes with colorful wooden windows with little dogs barking from behind them.

I was joined by Trent, my documentary mentor, Christina from World Nomads and Marcelo and Eduardo, our Ecuadorian friends and guides from Gap Adventures. My introduction to the city was from the roof of a magnificent church that overlooked the whole city. It´s always struck me, the significance of religion or faith in every city I've been to. Whether it's the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs in Mexico or the mosques of modern Cairo and churches of Mexico city.

Mo, Christina, Trent, Marcelo and Eduardo

Entering the Amazon!

The view was just getting spectacular, as the city fell behind us and we were driving next to volcanoes, with the clouds at our eye level. I realized a bit of altitude sickness was kinda getting to us as we went all the way up and then started descending again, but I think no one admitted it in an attempt to rough it up. Fiver hours later, we entered Tena, our entrance city to the Amazon. We left our minibus and got into more rugged pick-up trucks that could withstand the terrain from there onwards.

Refusing to sit inside, we all sat on the back as we drove deeper into the jungle. My lungs have never been exposed to fresher air as I stood up feeling the rushing wind just blow in me and through me. The magnificent greenery just devoured us sucking us deeper in. Gotta say, coming from Cairo, where green is not the most common color, I felt like I was not only on a completely different continent but more of a completely different planet!

Mo in the Amazon

The Pachamama

Delphin was his name. He was the truest form of a man living side by side with nature, and he and his family were our hosts for this trip in the middle of the jungle. Apart from the genuine kindness this man and his family showed us, he opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at myself by exposing us to the Pachamama (Mother Earth). I mean this wasn't just some new-age avatar cliche about being "one with nature". This man truly was one with nature. The Earth is where he came from, where he ends after he's gone, his creator and his mother. And every other human being is his brother or sister as they all come from the same mother, the Pachamama. And he doesn't just say it, he believes it with all his being.

Deplhin in the Amazon

Read Mo's full blog

Watch Mo's Documentary: Travel Ecuador - A World Nomad in the Amazon

A shot of the Amazon

See Mo's Interview

Mo in the Amazon