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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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the blacks knew how to erect in a day or two. It consists of walls made of bamboo and slats and mud and a ceiling covered with sape. Nearby, the large diamond-bearing Ribeirao do Inferno rushes down into the cramped gully, amid tall quartzite rocks. In order to wash comfortably and safely in this gully, which gave indications of containing great wealth, it was necessary to divert the stream, giving it a different direction. The rock on the left bank was undermined with explosives, placing many diversions, especially the abundant fern (Pteris caudata), and finally forcing the current to take a new course through stone dams. The riverbed, uncovered and dry, was a few hundred paces long; 400 blacks had been employed in this service for six to seven months. Now we saw the stream, which had twice broken its floodgate, again in its primitive bed. Large gravel mounds prove the activity with which it was removed. To wash this gravel, a 120-foot-long wooden shed was built, divided as a stable into crisscrossed, half-wide compartments throughout. In each division, a black man works.

The gravel, already cleared of the coarser stones, is shaken and examined in these compartments, for it flows in them, carried there in gullies. The findings are thrown into deep three-foot pits behind the washers. These workers are watched over in batches of ten men by an overseer sitting behind them. Mawe published in the description of his trip, an engraving of this way of washing diamonds. Here we find, for the moment, only a few slaves engaged in washing the gravel; During this dry time of the year, the workers are employed to change the course of the stream at one point and another and clean its bed.

Ribeirao do Inferno

Still a German league, to the east, is also in Ribeirao do Inferno, in a very deep valley, the establishment called Mata-Mata, where today we were prepared to stop for the night. The road to that place offers both romantic and grandiose sceneries such as Linguica mountain. The stream broke violently through massive quartzite cliffs, beyond which it had to be diverted at the cost of expensive bulkheads, with blocks of rock and carpentry,

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