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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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against which the missionary protests in vain. The Indian had drawn in red ink, bows on the foreheads and faces of her children and a large cross on the chest, but the interpreter could not tell us the reason for choosing this last ornament. The Camacas, especially the women, prepare this red ink with the seeds of the

annatto (Bixa Orellana, L.), crushing them in cold water until the colored coat precipitates. With this substance they form the orellana into square pieces which they expose to the sun to dry; In order to use this paint as a cosmetic, it is mixed with castor oil or animal fat. As for agriculture, to which the shepherd of their souls directs them, it is also performed by the women, who had planted several manioc and maize beds; This, however, was not enough for their needs, and the government had ordered, on the occasion of our stay there, that every father of the family be provided with ten arrobas of cassava flour, free of charge, from the Santa Maria mill.

This precarious state of the colony, and especially the impassable state of the roads to Minas, which led to colonization there, make us wonder how long it will last. The revered Friar Ludovico had made himself penetrate into the western woods to gather scattered worshippers at his altar; but the task was too heavy even for respectable elders. He reminded us again of humanity in all its splendor, which we were looking for in its guardians; his soul was continually rising from the living awareness of the dignity of his painful office; he even retained enough ardor to feel the beauties of the divine Dante and the noble Tasso, whose works showed us, as treasures of his library, his source of complacent serenity. The state of his village convinced us of the harmful influence of Europe on the new continent, where our civilization planted seeds of destruction. Filled with these sentiments, we bid farewell to the excellent friar;

Rio da Cachoeira

We continued the journey down the Rio da Cachoeira, in that season with very little water, until its small fall by the Banco do Cachorro, and from there we entered the virgin forest again. We spent the rainy night on a miserable ranch,

Lake Alamada

and back at last we arrived at the hospitable huts of Almada. Here we could have stayed for a long time, not only because of the frank hospitality of the residents, but also the woods, with their abundance of their wonderful plants (Note II); but we wanted to return to Salvador, in the same schooner that had brought us to Ilheus, and soon we would have said goodbye to our comrades, if there had not been an unforeseen event. The Coroados Indian. Custodio, who had been with us for eight months, since the Presidio of St. John the Baptist,

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