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Life’s Tough Media is pleased to announce the latest episode of our “Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!” podcast series. Hosted by Richard Wiese—explorer extraordinaire and President of The Explorers Club—this episode features David Good, an adjunct biology instructor at Northampton Community College, public speaker, and remote indigenous tribes expert—concentrating on the Yanomami people.
This “Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!” episode was released on March 11th, 2021 and is now available on all major podcast networks, under the Podcast Channel “Explorers are Tougher”.
Like any typical 5-year-old, David has fond memories of dancing and wrestling with his mother, eating donuts, and going to the beach together. But his family was far from typical. His mother, Yarima, was a young tribe woman from a remote village in the deepest jungles of the Amazon rainforest, and his father, Kenneth Good, a prominent American anthropologist. Their love story was so unique it made the headlines of major television agencies, news outlets, and magazines.
David remembers traveling with his family from his home in New Jersey to the Amazon and back again as a young child, immersing himself fully in two strikingly different cultures. And when his mother stayed behind with her people in the Yanomami village after one of these visits, David had no idea it would be the last time he would see her for 20 years.
It took David two decades to embrace his true identity. He spent his entire childhood resenting his mother’s absence and his Yanomami heritage, wishing he could have a mom like all the other kids at school.
David attended East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he received his undergraduate degree in biology. And in 2015, he received his master’s degree in biology at the same university. He’s also a member of the Maria Gloria Domingeuz-Bello lab in the Department of Translational Medicine at NYU.
In his early twenties, David read his father’s memoir, documenting the years he spent living among the Yanomami people. Slowly, David started to understand what his mother must have gone through and why it had been impossible for her to stay and raise children in westernized culture. In 2013, David traveled through the Amazon Jungle in search of his mother and was eventually reunited with his Yanomami family. Deep in the Venezuelan Amazon they embraced each other’s presence. David not only found his mother; he found his indigenous family and homeland. It marked the beginning of a calling to learn the ancient ways of the Yanomami people, as well as share this culture around the world.
The Good Project
In 2013, David founded the Good Project, a nonprofit aimed at educating, protecting and preserving the ways of the Yanomami people and to help indigenous people find their way in the market economy—a process he sees as inevitable. The Yanomami live in 200-250 villages in an area of 60,000 square miles of jungle, sprawling across the Venezuela-Brazil border and have little to no contact with the outside world.
Some of his current goals is to help advance pioneering scientific research, increase access to intercultural education, enhance medical programs, promote sustainability, and stewardship in the Amazon. Concerning his continued research into the Yanomami people and their culture David says, “I do it not as a dispassionate scientist, but as someone who truly cares about their survivorship and their well-being because we’re talking about my own mother.”
David is a public speaker and captivating storyteller. He travels domestically and internationally to educate, raise awareness, and provide personal, unique insights on the world of the Yanomami.
Join Richard and David for a fascinating account of what it was like growing up as the “son of Yarima”, what prompted his journey to search for her after many years apart, and his ongoing research and support for the Yanomami people. David recently wrote, “Their survival is necessary in keeping us alert to maintaining the Amazon’s critical role in protecting the planet.”