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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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through the fast streams and tributary rivers, sometimes paddling a league, continually threatened with shipwreck, when it bumps into trees and rocks where it strikes the bank, or hits driftwood. If you are fortunate enough to overcome the dangers of water, you sometimes have to fight the beasts, which flee in a rage from the triggered element.

Boa constrictor or Giboias

Giboias and alligators cling to the boat, trying to climb on it to rest. If the canoe passes under a tree, great hulks of bees fall upon it, taking refuge there, and as the rancher engages in the extermination of the innumerable enemies, even greater scares are reserved for the jaguar or rattlesnake, which leaps into the canoe. If, to escape these monsters, the man is thrown into the current, he runs

Piranha

the risk of being instantly torn to pieces by the schools of piranhas that come out of their watery burrows in search of prey. If he finally reaches his helpless animals, he is sometimes weakened by starvation, injured by the jaws of piranhas or alligators, and unable to swim to the other shore, or victimized by jaguars, which he usually defends against by forming a circle with the men’s heads together, turned inward. Hundreds of domestic animals are sacrificed by the annual floods.

For men, the evaporation of the flood, after the flood is low, is often of harmful

Etching 25 After the flood on Rio Japura

consequences. The foliage of the naked groves and many animal residues that hang from the trees or over the banks - sometimes the carcass of a tree-topped ox or that of an armadillo on the branches - stains the air and soon causes putrid fevers, or other terrible illnesses. The air pollution, fortunately, is not frequent, but decimates, like the plague, the population. Intermittent fever is endemic in some parts of the river, and becomes malignant by congestion of the liver (bacchus), which is a consequence. People affected in this way are soon recognized by the pale or yellowing of the face and the general expression of weakness and decay if they are severely attacked and sometimes die from organ damage: hydrops or breakup. In general, the river people are less healthy and vigorous in appearance than the burgeoning figures of the sertanejos of the fields, and justify their neighbors' fear of staying for some time on the Sao Francisco River. During the two-week delay at the house of Mr. Jose Antonio Serrao, I had the opportunity to learn about the disease characteristics of this region, as people came from far away to consult me, perhaps encouraged by our brave host. It was his duty to repay with the most delicate attentions of hospitality the medical services we provided to his countrymen. (Note IV).

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