Rain, Fertility, Bloodwood

As I write it is three p.m. here in the Amazon jungle. Since it gets dark by six, there are only three hours of light left. Unobtrusive rain is quietly falling. It’s just enough to wet the leaves, encourage the mosquitoes, and take the edge off the heat. I was taking a nap when the trueno (thunder) rumbled as if the sky had an empty stomach and needed lunch.

I crawled out from under my net, made a cup of coffee, and came into the computer room to think and write. I have a new class scheduled for 5:30-7pm. Seventeen people have signed up, but I’ll be surprised if five show, and tomorrow, maybe two, if at all. That’s just the way it is. I suspect, in spite of the increasing tourist trade, that the English language seems trifling, even frivolous here in such a remote place where most people will not travel further than the Spanish speaking world. In any case it’s a lot of time and effort to learn something with dubious value.

This morning I was invited to go to Macedonia, another Tikuna community up the river by one of the park staff. When we got there, several small tourist boats were landing, and the thatched community building was bustling with local merchants, their tables laid out with handcrafts. The carved wood items were gorgeous. Most were made with pajo sangre (blood wood) that has a rich red sheen, but is endangered, so I wouldn’t buy it to encourage the cutting of the trees that I’m told are small and difficult to find.

The trinkets, necklaces, key chains, and earrings were similar to the ones I saw in Brazil and Central America, made with shells, and/or seeds woven into string. I bought a pair of woven fiber earrings at Park Santaner in Leticia last week, but the only ones I brought from home and have worn so far, are silver and amber, and were given to me last year by my friend, Ginger

I digress. After an introduction to today’s festivities, the MC brought into the circle, two small boys dressed in rough, sack material, wearing masks, and endowed with erect wooden penises to signify fertility in the culture. One of them hung on to his as if it was attached, and needed