Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Village - Nazaret

Joe Martinez and I left our houses in Cusco at 6:30 am to find that our flight was canceled. After a long wait, we got on another flight to Lima in time to make our flight to Jauja.  We made it to Jauja without problems and prepared for the next leg of our trip to Satipo in the morning. 
We left from Jauja by taxi at 7:30 and traveled to Tarma.  Outside Jauja on the high plateaus, we saw many Vicuna, which are wild llama like animals that live in the high Andes.  The have a long neck like a llama or alpaca and are related to them.  The are protected in Peru. 
We switched cars in Tarma and descended to La Merced.  As we descended, the Quechua culture and way of life changes to the jungle people and their way of life.  The music, climate and way of life changes with each drop in elevation to the jungle.  We made it to Satipo at 1:30 and met up with Miguel, the pastor we are helping and supporting to start a church in Satipo.  Joe preached at Miguel's church for the evening service, which went well.  We prepared for the 3rd leg of the trip tomorrow and crashed.
On Sunday, we were up early in order to take a car two hours by dirt road to Puerto Ocupa.  At the port, we bought tickets on a passenger boat to go down river 4 hours to the village of Mayapo.  We thought we would be hiking to Nazaret today but found out from Miguel that we can't make it in time and it is too dangerous to hike in the jungle at night.  The village of Nazaret is 4 days from Cusco.  We found Wilder, the jefe of Nazaret, waiting in Mayapo for us.  We did our usual round of having to meet all the high ranking people of the village, present our ID's, and explain our purpose of being there.  Miguel handles these guys well and says, "We are hear to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, which God commands us to do."  The organizational structure of a village is as follows:  The Jefe is the first and most important, followed by the president, vice-president, and several other lower positions.  We had to meet them all.  They accepted us, but like usual, they ask for financial support, which we never gave them.  The unbelievers always want money.  They invited us to their village anniversary on the 18th but we were not going to be there.  We returned to Wilder's "house" after dark.  He showed us a leopard skull and we talked into the night.   It is funny how isolated these guys are.  Words like Facebook, Twitter, and social networking are not in their vocabulary and they have never heard of them.   Joe and I set up camp and Wilder stretched out on a piece of steel roofing with a few towels and no mosquito net.  The people were amused at my tent and how it is set up, almost if they have never seen one, which is possible.  I fell asleep listening to the sounds of the jungle.
We were up well before light.  Wilder and his family were up at 3am to prepare breakfast for our hike.  We ate and were on the trail at 6am.  Wilder is 41 and has lived his whole life in the jungle.  It is amazing to see him work and travel in the jungle.  There are countless sounds of birds, frogs, and who knows what else. Wilder will seemingly not pay attention to any of them except when he hears a particular sound of something he wants to hunt, he stops.  He will look back at us and say, "monkey" or some other animal.  When we started walking on the trail, we were cautious of what branches or other things were hitting us in the face but after an hour of walking we didn't really care.  We just plowed through and tried to keep up with Wilder, who was carrying a 60 pound bag of food on his shoulders and walking in rubber boots.  He walked fast and never stopped, except to clear brush with his machete.  We hiked at a very fast pace, which was difficult with our big packs and the heat and humidity.  Wilder stopped once to try and shoot a type of jungle turkey but couldn't get a shot.  I have no idea how people hunt in the jungle.  It is so thick that you can't see more than a few feet and it is almost impossible to walk in most places without clearing a trail. 
We met Wilder's wife and a 16 year old pregnant girl at a burned clearing.  They cut down all the trees in an area and then after the sun dries things out this time of year, they burn it.   Before the rainy season they plant their crops, like Yuka and other fruits and vegetables.  We still had 45 minutes to get to the village and we were tired.  The girls packed part of the food that Wilder was carrying in their woven baskets.  They pack their baskets with a strap around their forehead.  The girls walked in flip flops and they walk very fast.  We passed by enormous trees as we tried to keep up.  We were tired and at one point Joe expressed this fact.  I told him that the 16 year old, pregnant girl with the flip flops and heavy load on her head was doing pretty good.  We made the village in four hours.  We hiked 12 miles in the four hours and we were very hot and tired.  We immediately sat down and they fed us some kind of jungle animal, yuka, and hot, lemon flavored, river water. 
We set up camp and went to the river to bathe and filter water.  The river was hot and a breeding ground for parasites and just about anything else.  The village people drink right out of it.  There were fish jumping in the little river and we could see some swimming.  As I was standing in the river, a whole bunch of little fish came up an started pecking at my legs.  We went to the little church and started teaching.  The teaching went very well and the people participated and had a lot of questions.  It went much better than what we taught last trip in the village of Chembo. 
After we taught we sat down for dinner and ate some kind of jungle animal.  All was going well....but then we were poisoned.


Koplin Familia said...

You can't end the post like that!

Scott Doherty said...

jajaja te dejé en suspenso