Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Visiting the Ticuna -- Vendaval and Ribeiro villages

We started the day with a morning visit to the Ticuna village of Vendaval.  Junior and his father have been working with the Ticuna for many years, and the plan is to bring them school supplies and other items, and also buy some of their handcrafts.  Beforehand, the chief came on board to give us some info about the Ticuna, including a brief lesson in their language.

Heading into Vendaval
Getting off of the canoes
Junior introduced us to a local fruit which is used by the Ticuna to dye their skin -- it contains iron and turns black after exposure to sunlight.  Almost everyone lined up to get marked with some of the traditional "tattoos" (which we are told will wear off in a few days).  I got some markings to represent the leopard on my hand, but they never really darkened.  I guess I am just not meant to be anything but pale.

Junior giving Caryn markings "to represent readiness for a a husband" (in preparation for meeting up with Peter in a few days).

Kari got the markings representing a heron
The kids in the village were very shy, but curious and amused as they watch Junior and the chief draw tattoos.

The center of town was flooded, which seemed like lots of fun for the kids.

One of the local people was roasting manioc.
Junior and Cindy brought school supplies, some medical supplies, and marbles for the kids -- a big hit!

After a while, the kids got over their shyness and were eager to have their pictures taken (and then look at the images of themselves and their friends).

I was even able to learn some names!  One little boy was curious about the whistle that was hanging off of my bag, so I gave it to him.  Once I helped them figure out what to do with it, they made LOTS of noise, passing around the super-shrill whistle, so I felt a little bad for their parents.  But they were having fun...
We left town in the rain, but were joined by some of the leaders of the village, including the chief/president.  Junior talked to them at length and translated as they told about the Ticuna culture and history.  Meanwhile, several of the kids paddled canoes out and surrounded the boat, trying to catch our attention and giggling when they did.

In the afternoon, we headed toward a second Ticuna village, called Ribeiro, and brought more supplies and bought more handcrafts.  This village was flooded throughout, and it was much smaller and less built up.

Local home
Children watching us leave from the window of their school house

We finished the day with another night exploration.  This time, we saw many huge spiders (various types of tarantulas), which I did NOT enjoy.  We also saw a giant catydid, another Amazon tree boa, more three-toed sloths, an Amazon screech owl, a freshwater crab, a praying mantis, sac-winged bats, and another common potoo.  With the combination of canoe motor exhaust, slightly rocking canoe, and trying to look at the moving images through my binoculars, I felt extremely nauseous by the time we returned to the boat and basically just collapsed and went to sleep.

Here's the Amazon screech owl.  (Another nice shot by Mary.)  He reminds me of the one in Milo and Otis.
I think it's because of his scornful gaze.

No comments:

Post a Comment