Retreat Center StaffMeet the wonderful humans who make all this work possible
Here to Help You Reclaim You
Welcome, friend! Thank you for coming to meet the lovely humans who make RHC function, breathe and thrive. Without them, we would not exist to serve you and your healing journey
Work in the jungle is wonderful and fierce simultaneously. It takes great sacrifice, humbling and dedication to stay for the long periods of time required to run our boutique Ayahuasca Retreat Center and Master Plant Diets Lodge.
Our staff rotates in and out to afford people time to recharge, be with their families, so you may not encounter everyone during your retreat, but know that they are there, working afar to bring you a comfortable, nurturing healing environment to do your highest work.
Retreat Center Admins
Our admins handle many things and wear many hats. From coordinating our Peruvian co-workers and their daily tasks to ensuring your experience at RHC is smooth and as bump-free as possible. It’s a tall order in a country known for its own rhythms and pace, especially in the Amazon rainforest where weather and critters call the shots.
Cristina Muñoz - Spain
On-Site Manager ~ Kambo Instructor Trainer
Cristina grew up in very challenging circumstances, without a stable family life. As a teenager she tried to escape from her painful background by constant travel and drug use. This lifestyle lead to a deep depression, and during that time, she discovered ayahuasca. Ayahuasca provided Cristina with so much relief and healing, that she decided to travel to Peru to continue her powerful healing journey.
She has been in Peru since and worked with her maestro with many plant dietas and countless ayahuasca ceremonies. In addition, she traveled deep into the jungle to train with the Matses indians to learn the traditional application of Kambo medicine. Of the many profound teachings Cristina has received from medicinal plants, one teaching has transformed her everyday life: “we all have the capacity for forgiveness in our hearts, no matter how severe the pain inflicted on us.”
Cristina works for Rainforest Healing Center because she has the opportunity to give back to the medicine in gratitude for the healing that she has received. Cristina is in service to the medicinal plants first and foremost, and there is no better place than the primary rainforest that Rainforest Healing Center calls home, to do just that.
Omar Gomez - USA (Currently)
Omar is an avid traveller, lover of adventure, and a true visionary. Omar’s past is as dynamic and diverse as you can imagine, with each experience leading him, unknowingly, to opening a healing center deep in the jungle!
In 1993, Omar moved to the Mexican Caribbean where he pursued an underwater career. He became an underwater cave explorer, technical/tri-mix scuba diving instructor and owned a profitable dive shop on the island of Cozumel. He learned the ins and outs of guiding, safety and small group retreat curation.
He then found himself managing a law firm in Chicago and Dallas! He learned leadership, expert judgement and perseverance.
In 2005 while on a 2 year sabbatical, hitchhiking from Cancun to the Patagonia, he came across Iquitos, Peru. He was fortunate enough to study and heal with the incredibly powerful maestra, Norma Panduro. Omar was profoundly moved by his healing experience with his maestra, and it was right then and there, that the medicine wrote his future in his book of life. Through a series of synchronistic events, the 92 plus acres of primary rainforest that we now call home, was given to Omar with the explicit direction that it be made into a healing center so that the healing of the master plants could be more accessible to more people.
The project lay dormant until 2011 until spontaneous and corresponding visions of Gerik Spiquel and Cameron Gaberoglio (our Deaf retreat facilitator) revived it. With the guidance of the master plants and close collaboration with one another, Omar, Gerik, and Cameron built the center from the ground up. Along the way, many heart-centered helpers with a similar vision have joined forces with Omar to make Rainforest Healing Center a vibrant reality.
Gerik Spiquel – Switzerland
Born in Australia to European parents and travelling while young, Gerik was destined with boundless wanderlust pursuing the unknown in foreign lands, seeking adventure and excitement wherever it led him. Meeting Omar in Central America guided him to be drawn to the jungle of Peru in 2006 for a ceremony with Nora, changing his & his family’s life for the better.
“Ayahuasca is a very powerful medicine for my soul & well being. It has taught me to be mindful & conscious of my surroundings. It has helped me heal relationships and guide me in so many ways I cannot explain. I’m not sure I’d be the person I am now if I hadn’t gone down this path. For that I am eternally grateful”
He joined Omar in building the healing center in 2011 and they held their first retreat together in 2012. Being a strong advocate of the power of the medicine – he continues his own personal development and reaches out to his friends and confrères by sharing his story. Gerik is now a successful entrepreneur based in Switzerland.
“If we make peace with our pasts, then only – can we move forward and grow”
Cameron Garberoglio - USA
Co-Founder / Head Facilitator Deaf Program
Cameron Garberoglio is a Deaf facilitator and shamanic apprentice with a deep passion for the alchemy of plants and consciousness, bringing communities together, transformative healing and cultural exchanges.
Cameron has witnessed the power of the sacred Plants and their role in assisting Humanity in cleansing, healing and accelerating the global awakening. The Plants have given him a powerful lens through which to peer into the deepest valleys and highest peaks of Self.
He has spent nine years journeying with the wisdom and power of Ayahuasca and five years facilitating for those who are willing to surrender. He strongly believes in creating the utmost safe space for people to do this work, to empower them and walk side by side on this journey, to provide Deaf people with access to Plant Medicine in American Sign Language
Many hands make light work, and these gifted souls help on many fronts and we are grateful for their assistance, contributions and gifts.
Freddie Finlay - England - Peru
Lead on-site Facilitator
Freddie is British and also holds Peruvian citizenship. He has been living in Peru for the past 14 years (in Iquitos for seven) and now has three beautiful children here. Freddie is funny, warm, has a heart the size of Africa, and has always had a very strong connection to both the jungle and the medicine.
Ray, MOT, BKin, RYT - Bali
Ray is a practitioner, student, and teacher of life. From a young age, she began studying Eastern teachings, and always knew there was so much more to this human experience than meets the eye. Ray studied and lived for many years confined by the structure of the West, where she was ‘successful’ in keeping busy, staying in the mind, and believing in the fears and insecurities. From the synchronicities, the so-called ‘coincidences,’ and her trust in the universe, Ray was led to the medicine. As the inner knowingness continues to guide her, the quest for healing continues with her recent relocation to Ubud, Bali. As one of her teachers once said, the highest form of charity is sharing the way. Ray is grateful for the ultimate gift, the opportunity to share the medicine, so others too can reap the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of the sacred plant medicine.
Ray works alongside our founder, Omar, to ensure everything is running smoothly and seamlessly. She is your go-to person for anything retreat related. She is also currently offering 1:1 sessions for RHC guests, whether you are working on personal growth, integration post-retreat, or just would like someone to listen, you may benefit from her services. As an Occupational Therapist, Ray has significant experience in mental health and addiction work. Her approach is trauma‐informed, compassionate, and sessions are directed by YOU. Contact her via email for more details.
Andrea Juillerat-Olvera - MFA - ASL Certified Interpreter - USA
ASL Interpreter for Deaf Retreats
Andrea Juillerat-Olvera is a scholar, adventurer, and artist creating on a multitude of levels. Her unflinching curiosity has taken her across a broad range of artistic and esoteric studies. A voracious reader and seeker of knowledge Andrea has studied spiritual traditions from all over the world. Her interest in metaphysical thought culminated in the completion of a philosophy degree from U.W. Seattle in 2005. She is acquainted with the entheogenic teachers: psilocybin, salvia divinorum, mescaline and DMT in short-acting forms. In 2018, Andrea was introduced to Kambo, which catalyzed a personal transformation and physical rebound after an extended illness.
Her interactions with the Deaf community are not limited to interpreting. She regularly supports Deaf non-profit and services agencies with her time and skill. Besides her philosophy degree, she also completed an MFA from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. Her art and writing address gender, politics, performance, and disability.
Between 2003-2006 she traveled extensively throughout the Balkans, living in Ljubljana, Slovenia and working there as an English teacher. Her actions arise from a deep sense of gratitude and a respect for human experience. She currently resides in the U.S. where she is a university staff interpreter and diversity training representative.
Nelson Deschenes, - B.A., RYT, Acupuncturist, Thai Massage Practitioner - Canada
Nelson grew up in a small town in Quebec and since he was very young he always felt quite different from everyone else, which brought up intense feelings of not belonging and loneliness. He learned early the need to hide who he was to not be rejected, and feeling as if trapped in an invisible prison for many years. Nonetheless, he has always felt there was something more to life, but unable to call it into his life. As if going through a labyrinth, he’s been traveling the world for the last 10 years and living abroad experimenting and searching for the missing parts, always trusting his inner guidance knowing it will guide him to the right places.
For the last few years, he has worked teaching yoga, giving massages and acupuncture, but he still felt something was missing, a deeper connection to others and to something bigger than himself. This is where the plants finally appeared to clean out the cobwebs and bring back the pieces left behind. The plants have helped him owning who he truly is, and continuing the work to become the peaceful warrior he is meant to become. He has a deep respect for the sacredness and the power of plants and couldn’t be happier to help others on their own journey.
Sanam Emami , RYT-500, M.S - Iran
Sanam is an artist, healer, and community organizer. She is head creatrix of a womyn’s visual, performance, and healing arts collective based in the DMV. The medicine has helped her ground and sharpens both her physical and metaphysical environments through her art. She’s fascinated by the healing frequencies of plant medicine and sound creating unifying experiences that invoke harmonious living on our planet. Before becoming a full-time entrepreneur she studied neuroscience and specialized in learning and memory.
Tigre Pickett - USA
Photography, Web & Graphic Designer
Tigre first encountered Omar in Karma Cafe in the hustle and bustle of Iquitos, Peru in 2011. They quickly bonded over their mutual appreciation and fascination with the healing powers of the Amazon, and their mutual interest in preserving the gift to humanity that it is.
Since then, Tigre has lent his graphic and web design skills to RHC. He designed and created the logo inspired by Shipibo weavings, the blue morpho butterfly and the vine herself. Tigre also lends many of his photos of the center from his multiple visits for you to enjoy.
Tigre also has helped contribute, alongside Francine Lee, to the Replanting Ayahuasca Project to help document and locate existing Ayahuasca vines and to help identify ideal growing conditions for the vine.
When Tigre isn’t working his digital artistic magic, he can be found working alongside his wife, Lola Medicine Keeper with their shamanic healing practice in Southern California. They have led two retreat groups to RHC and look forward to many more as their work continues to grow.
Eddy Phimphrachanh, RYT-200, HHC, HLC1, PT-Canada
Holistic Integration Coach
Before embarking on his journey with medicinal plants in the jungle, Eddy’s primary focus in his life was growing his successful businesses. He was driven by the aim to make himself feel worthy in society. Although it bought him external pleasure, he knew he was missing what was most important; love, peace, and happiness. Eddy came to the jungle looking for a deeper sense of meaning in his life.
Eddy did plenty of research and despite the underlying fear of drinking the jungle brew, he decided to take the dive into deep self-work at Rainforest Healing Center. It was a tough experience, but he can honestly say now: “sometimes you need to be shaken up and broken down so a message can sink into your heart”.
After his experience at RHC, Eddy reworked his life and goals toward inner peace and away from external successes. Luckily, for us, that meant Eddy’s return to RHC in the role of facilitation! Eddy’s background in yoga, training in life coaching, and deep work with medicinal plants inform his grounded approach to facilitation. But, most of all, Eddy’s huge heart and willingness to be present with the learning opportunities that life offers, help him hold a safe space for our guests while they embark on their own healing path.
Post-Ayahuasca is not a bypass to a perfectly happy life. If anything, I’ve experienced some of my most painful moments after Ayahuasca. To my understanding, the vine continues to give you the experiences you need, in order to teach you. Since then, I’ve surrendered myself to all experiences that flow in and out of my life. I’ve noticed when I’m emotionally off balance it’s been much easier to find my center, there’s of an authentic connection with friends and family, less judgment towards myself and others. I’ve noticed subtle yet powerful shifts in how I think, act, and feel, and there’s deeper gratitude for life.