Nuevo Jerusalen

Lunes 19Apr10

This morning awoke to Jim announcing that they couldn’t find the coffee or the toilet paper.  Mary and I decided not to get up.  Dozens of mosquitoes were attacking my tent.  Then the three guys who came back from Iquitos by bus/boat/hike showed up with the rest of the provisions.

Nosotros mujeres surreptitiously got dressed with guys conferring and unpacking around us.  (The sides of the tents are screen and we don’t bother with covers because they would cut out any breeze and they’re a lot of trouble.)  We had to douse with Deet just to walk four meters to the toilet.  The shower wasn’t set up yet (Jim has a new contraption which he is constructing) so we had to wait ‘til evening, maybe.  See photo.

Breakfast was a plate of sweet potatoes and breadfruit (they have no bread) and another plate of mixed fruit.  Mucho café.  There was a kissing bug on the screened wall of the dining tent, and black ants on the floor.  There were small wolf spiders on the floor boards of the entire house, but they were all dead.  The live ones must be in the thatch.

The Pets

The cook, Nati (Natividad) has a young capuchin monkey, Rebecca, who is free.  The parrot, Lorena, (see photo in the last blog) hobbled around under the kitchen.   (Nati had put a barrel over it at night to protect it from the vampire bats.)   In the kitchen is a rectangle of rough logs infilled with six inches of dirt.  On top of that is the wood fire and the cooking stove that Jim had made.

Nati’s son created an attic for empty boxes and suitcases by moving together loose logs that rest on the cross beams.

The morning went slowly, with my friends unpacking and trying to find stuff that had been packed in large wooden chests last year and stored here, while I practiced my Spanish, to the amusement of the children, took photos, and wrote the blog.

Lunch.  Same plate of fruit, another plate of rice and beans.  (This will not vary for two weeks, except for the kind of bean.) 

El Pueblo

After lunch we took off for Nuevo Jerusalen (sic), half an hour up the river, which is a smooth opaque dark brown.  A giant bee nest on a tree trunk, pendulous bird nests hanging from the tallest trees and the yellow breasted orapendula birds that weave them.  There were four of us in the dugout, powered by a 2 hp motor, and the water was 2” below the edge.  I was hesitant to move as it seems unsteady, but we had no problems.

The School

We delivered to the school the supplies that my friends had bought.  The teacher was delighted, the kids interested.   All of the homes in the village are constructed of wood and thatch.  The school, however, is concrete block, painted light blue.  The center of the village is a soccer field, with goals, but no nets (see photo).

My friends presented the football (soccer ball), volleyball and net.  They immediately put up the net and the women started playing.  Many of the men were at Jim’s work site.  We proceeded in a leisurely walk around the village.  A “guard dog” under a house.  

Tito had to explain the ocelot skin: the young animal had tried to attach a porcupine, gotten quills in the neck and died.  Jim had convinced them to make their section of the jungle into a Reserve, the Darvinia Reserve, and that they had to stop killing the jungle animals.  (This is why he has been bringing in fowl, for food.)  The dog under that house looked dreadful, all skin and bones; we were told it was because he had been bitten by a snake.  I asked about a red-flowered bush and was told it was used for face paint.  Tito decorated his son’s face.

The Director’s House

Afterwards we proceeded to Jim’s project.  The chainsaw operators were already at work.  What’s amazing is that none of the wood will be milled, as there is no mill.  The chainsaw operators actually cut the trees into 2×8 boards (approximately).

The Jungle Night

That night an animal?  frog? bird? croaked Work Work.  Maybe the cousin of the animal that, a couple of hours ago, had been croaking Tourist Tourist. Then a sound like wooden wind chimes in a stiff breeze.  Next was added a trilled brbrbrbr brew.  I could just see the conductor pointing to each animal, adding in each sound.  Under all of this was the sound like the whirring of a high-powered electric line, the insects.  After that the maracas started and the Peruvian raindrum.  (If you haven’t seen one, it’s constructed of a hollow length of bamboo with nails pounded into it.  Pebbles are poured in and it’s sealed.  You turn it upside down and there’s a lovely murmur as the pebbles strike the nails.)   What a wonderful symphony to lull one to sleep.

One Response to “Nuevo Jerusalen”

  1. Vratislav Hruby Says:

    Hello, I just spend half year in this village. Do you have contact to Darvinia ( Mr. Norton…)?

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