Just a liiiiitttle concern touched me when we arrived to find that there were still no hammocks up in our “hostel.” The little grandmother was confused. She told our tour guide that he’d never told her that we had decided to stay (apparently we’d been allowed to leave our stuff just so we could go on his tour). She, Polo, and her husband began putting the hammocks up immediately. They tied the corners, draped mosquito netting, and looked for a location for the fourth hammock. Maybe we were the largest party they’d ever had stay. We took our showers and charged electronics. Again, I was amazed at the difference from Bogota, where you didn’t even show you HAD electronics until you were in a locked building, but here - anyone could have reached through the window and grabbed anything, but no one did.
When I came back from my shower, our hostess accosted me, full of questions and stories about her native culture. No, she and Polo were not family, but they were Ticuna, so they would take care of each other. The room we were staying in had been a daycare until she hurt her knees. Now it was a place for meetings (we could tell the type of meetings by her table of “sacred” things - a Jesus on a cross, some indigenous symbols, some Catholic icons). She loved her culture and she wanted to maintain tradition. Come, she said, and look at her pieces of culture. Come and see the instrument of the mother who soothed her hungry children to sleep, the instrument of the frogs. Listen to the song...
|The hats, the baskets, the purses - all were from|
the string so painstakingly and carefully woven
from grass, the process we'd seen on our arrival.
We thought it was bedtime, but really, looking back, it was “church” time. She told us the stories of the Ticuna, sang us the songs, and took us to see her handiwork. We were awed by the hours of labor in the bags, baskets, and jewelry she’d made, and we asked questions about various other pieces. As she explained, she demonstrated. These beads fell one way if you would leave and travel, another if you would stay and marry. This was used for a Ticuna dance... and she took Dianne’s arm and they began to dance as our hostess sang in her native (not Spanish) tongue. We bought a few things, so she had to fulfill the custom of her culture and give us a gift. As she tied a bracelet around each of our wrists, she began to pray.
|The song of the frogs|
It might have been Tyrel’s least favorite moment on the trip. And, truth be known, none of us were terrifically comfortable with having hands go up and down while someone chanted in a completely foreign language. I, however, am sure that the Holy Spirit living in my heart is strong enough to protect me from the “spirit of good travel” she said put into us (and trust me, we prayed, too!). Then we returned to the large room, where she called her husband to come and play a drum and she took out a long, ornamental stick. We all grabbed it and did some “Indian line dancing,” for lack of a better description. We asked her if we could pray over her. I prayed in English, because somehow the words wouldn’t come in Spanish, but then I explained that we wanted her to know Jesus in truth, because the Jesus of the Bible lived in our hearts. She said she had sensed that we had brought another Spirit which she needed. I thought of Acts, where Paul preached to the people to explain the “unknown God,” and I thought of our missionary friend who had spoken of the difficulty of separating truth for the animistic indigenous people.
Finally, rest. Dianne, Tyrel, and I were quite comfortable in our hammocks, though Ethan found his too narrow and retreated to the bed in the room where we’d put our stuff. We slept wonderfully once we tuned out the music from a nearby bar, and awakened with smiles to hear rain on the tin roof. The adventures in Puerto Nariño were over as we boarded the rapido for Leticia.
|Shower water is from the blue barrel.|
|Never, never, never run out of drinking water while on the Amazon.|
Buy it in a bag.