next arrow
previous

Remember the Rainforest 1

 

Home

Expedition Index

Itinerary

Etchings

Maps

Plants

Animals

People / Scenes

Lessons

Green Girl's Eco Club

Eco SuperHeroes RTR2

Free Posters

Authors / Artists

Contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In general, the highlands (the general ones) are much healthier than the surroundings of the Sao Francisco River. Inflammation of the chest and abdomen are very common; On the other hand, only intermittent fevers rage here. A disease, however, is widespread there, while not being noticed in the vicinity of the river: I want to refer to the uncontrollable desire of children to eat soil. Stranger is this symptom, because it seems to have passed from animals to men. I mentioned earlier that cattle, oxen, and horses eagerly lick saltpeter; sometimes animals come to devour, with ghana, the salty land. In dry regions they so badly damage their teeth on hard, stony soil that they can no longer chew the grass and starve to death slowly. In such cases, farmers need to pasture these animals in wet groves where the soil is tender. But even snakes, lizards, even jaguars, eat dirt sometimes. Given the generality of this unique taste, it is no wonder that children are also given to him. Boys and girls usually eat salty or loamy soil, as long as it is not stony, sometimes the lime of the walls, more rarely wood, charcoal or cloth. Only the strictest vigilance can prevent this bad habit, which is all the more harmful and of dangerous effect, because, over time, the practice takes root and continues until old age. As part of this indigestible material can not be eliminated, and the swelling of the womb and its immediate consequence, soon the disease is revealed by the huge belly of the children, the pallor of the face, the features become tapering and slurred, growth ceases, and the disgraced victim dies when violent cramps or hydrops occur; others are anemic, sluggish, indolent, all their lives. When sailing on the Amazon River, we have often had occasion to observe that Indians eat red mud from the riverside, even when they are not short of food, and we are inclined to believe that this appetite perversion is also caused by the weather, and perhaps its reason for being the result of the heat and the rarefaction of the atmosphere, as these influences may arouse a feeling of strange unease, as well as the lower air pressure in the high mountains. Moreover, the coarse food of the countrymen and the constant abuse of fruits also dispose the digestive organs for this extravagance of taste. Another disease, which appears in the highlands, I will cite it slightly: it is the so-called air of stupor. Thus qualify the backcountry to sudden attacks of paralysis, which often occur here, especially after colds, and often become severe. We have repeatedly witnessed such paralysis of the arm, tongue, and toes, and the violence of the case both astonished us and surprised us

92