But even the village itself has not been immune to the ravages of a rapidly changing climate.

In her garden, Samaniego’s mother, Pachaka Samaniego, harvests a medicinal root called ibenki, which the Ashaninka consume to alleviate anxiety.

Reduced rainfall, however, has caused many of her medicinal plants to wither. But Pachaka, 58, remembers the environment was not always this way.

A midwife and traditional healer, Pachaka began learning to treat illnesses at age seven. Her grandfather taught her by taking her into the forest to identify the pharmacological wonders within.

Pachaka was raised in a different Ashaninka village, nearly 200 kilometres (120 miles) to the north of San Miguel Centro Marankiari. But at age 14, she moved here to marry Samaniego’s father.

At the time, medicinal plants were abundant in the village. Pachaka relied on them while she was in labour: She gave birth to 10 children, including Samaniego. Herbal infusions helped dull the labour pains, and she used sharpened palm reeds to cut her newborns’ umbilical cords.

She fears that present-day deforestation might result in the loss of that traditional knowledge.

“The forests have always been our pharmacy, but they’re killing them as if they were people,” Pachaka said of the nearby settlers.

Pachaka boils cassava as she prepares masato, a traditional drink [Neil Giardino/Al Jazeera]

Inside her earthen-floor kitchen, Pachaka tends to a pot of cassava boiling over firewood. Shafts of sunlight leak through the bamboo walls, illuminating the swirling smoke from the cooking.

The calorie-rich tuber is used to make masato, a fermented yoghurt-like beverage that underpins daily life for tribes throughout the Amazon basin.

But this staple crop has become more rare in San Miguel Centro Marankiari as a result of deforestation. Without as much forest cover, erosion has increased, and soil quality leaches away with each passing rain.

Sapped of nutrients, the land yields less cassava, Pachaka explained. Nowadays, she makes the long journey down a dusty, rutted road to buy the root vegetable from a nearby town.

“We don’t live like we used to. Scarcity is everywhere. The soil is impoverished, so we grow what we can to survive. We work harder to produce less,” Pachaka said.

Even the aquifers are drying up, she added. Ever-more intense droughts have taken their toll, as have the ever-expanding farms. Pachaka said her fellow villagers also face pressure to sell off or lease what remains of their territory.

“There is nothing left for us here. In a new territory, we might finally have an abundance in food and a place to continue our culture,” Pachaka said.

The World Bank estimates that if climate change continues apace, 216 million people could be displaced by 2050. Latin America could witness 17 million internally displaced climate migrants.

For her part, Pachaka imagines her new home might look like the lush jungles she grew up in. “I have eight grandchildren. They’ve never seen forests like that. I’ll teach them about the plants.”