jose-joven-1_sOn September 24, 1961 in a poor little village in Peru, about 100 miles south of the border with Ecuador, José Mercedes Campos Campos was born. It was in Cujillo, in the District in Cajamarca, with a population of only a few dozen people. His mother, Francisca Campos Sempertigue gave him his last name because his father, Demostenes Cabrera, a medical school student at the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, did not recognized his parenthood at the time. José has always carried very proudly his last name Campos, given by his mother, as she was the one that raised him the best she could. Francisca was a hardworking woman, daughter of a local mestizo and a white immigrant from Spain’s Basque province. It was not until 40 years later that José met his father for the first time. They mended their father-son issues and today they meet frequently and enjoy the family life. He always longed to meet his father and it was a long wait. His father, who was a medical doctor, was in turn the son of an authentic curandero of the region. In retrospect, José realized that his origins come from a lineage of healers and started to see himself as the continuation of a legacy.

motherWhen he was six years old his mother had to move to another town and sent him temporarily with his aunt and cousins until she was able to settle in. José waited for two long years until it was possible to reunite with his mother. This was a happy period but it was short lived. A few months later he is sent to live with another uncle, where he found painful emotional abuse had a hard time adjusting in this new environment. He went to school and was able to obtain his primary education. However, when he became a teenager, he was expected to earn a living to contribute to the household that was hosting him. The only work available was very physical and exploiting, something that made him start looking for alternatives for his future. At seventeen, seeking a more bearable future he managed to move again with another relatives, in the small town of Moyobamba, Although his next two years would also require hard work in farms, he had the opportunity to discover his connection with the wild Amazon jungle. He remembers the early lessons learned about fauna and flora, while he explored his natural curiosity for the unknown.

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