In three years he touched the ground only once. This is the particular story of Gilbert Sanchez, a 47-year-old man from the Philippines who in 2014 had climbed to the top of a 20-meter coconut palm.
Gilbert had risen following a quarrel, in which he had been hit on the head with a gun. He was so afraid of being killed that the tallest tree had seemed to him the most effective solution to survive. For three years he ate and drank only what his mother brought him daily, using an improvised rope to grab him.
Winifreda Sanchez, the mother, repeatedly tried to convince him to get off the tree, at least to take a bath. But man has always refused. So the woman continued to do what she could, bringing food, clothes and cigarettes every day.
Everyone in La Paz knew the situation of Gilbert Sanchez, but nobody did anything until an article about him became viral on social media. The media coverage has thus convinced local authorities to take the man down against his will. The operation was much more difficult than expected and in the end the only solution was to cut the palm with a chain saw being careful not to hurt it.
In the videos that circulate on social media we see Gilbert's body full of blisters and insect bites. The man also suffers from muscular atrophy and his spine is deformed after much time spent crouching on the coconut tree. But it is his mind that far suffers more.