Throughout the whole experience, we definitely felt far from home and out of place, but my travel partner and I were satisfied knowing we were the first westerners to venture this far and to go to these lengths to see the process. One friend who spoke English kept asking us to take pictures next to the kratom trees while we were still in the jungle saying, “Now they will believe you. They will trust that you are serious.” I kept thinking that it was not just “they” who would believe us now, but there had been some part of him that had not believed we were willing to go through everything to see the real thing. See most of the time, Westerners or buyers from other areas of the world are only interested in getting the product and lowering the price of that product to make fast money. We are interested in people and building relationships of both friendship and business.
As I took photos and soaked in all the information, I understood more of the reason that this plant is so special, and why it is worth the time, energy, and money it takes to see where something comes from. I realized that there are so many things, food, drinks, drugs, that I put in my body with no concept whatever of where it comes from or how it’s obtained or the people that are involved, the livelihoods that rely on it.
There are always people behind the product.
The people matter, and the quality of the product matters. If you want to know about the quality and purity of a product, you must trace its trail back to its origins.
What makes something truly organic? Have you ever asked yourself that? Or do you merely trust the label? I know where kratom comes from. I know it’s organic. I stood in the jungle water, I touched the leaves with red, white, and green veins, and fingered the buds from which hundreds of seeds explode. I saw the women and men, real people, processing the product by hand. No, it is not up to American standards. No, they don’t have factories like ours or processes like we do. But they do the best with what they have. I know where kratom comes from, I know the people, I know that their laborers are not slaves…it’s important to me. I hope it’s important to you.
I’m still on a journey. A journey to find out the truth about things. I want food that is real, I want medicine that is real and that is good for me, and I think most people do. If you’re with me and you’re concerned about what you put into your body, join me on this journey to discovering and using the earth in a healthy way.