Remember the Rainforest 1
or the flower cluster three to four feet in length of some large palm trees, for example, paxiuba-barriguda (Iriartea ventricosa),
and pataua (Oenocarpus bataua),
by incinerating the flowers contained in the pod, before blossoming. The product is thus obtained is precipitated in leach and coarsened, or is then allowed to evaporate in a dish, where then brown-crusted crusts of cloying, bitter-acid taste appear. This substance seems to be a poor mixture of potash and baking-soda with vinegar and malic acid (later I have heard of other Gurupe and Tanimbuca, whose ashes are also used by the Solimoes Indians).
The children, who are not employed in the tasks of the ranch where the women cook (in Tupi, Japuna-ica, "fire hut"),
Fire hut, the communal kitchen
wander through neighboring forests, looking for edible fruits and roots, ants, insect larvae, fish eggs. One time I found them also busy collecting an ant's fumigator, a fine weave, which, by the ease with which it is inflamed, is called the tatapotaba, that is, "desire for fire" (1).
These Indians knew well to raise chickens,; but they complained that, because they swallowed many cockroaches (in Arabian tupi), which had multiplied excessively there, the birds suffered inflammation of the intestines, for which the remedy is crushed leaf of the pasture (Cassia alata)
and the tararacu (another Cassia). Our Indians exchanged for the hens obtained by Gregorio in Miriti-parana, many shirts made of fibers of turiri brown and white, that they know how to take from the tree with rare skill, in big pieces, not having to sew the garment, beating the bark until it becomes flexible. From the brown turiri, they also make little boxes, where they keep their ornaments of feathers; of white turiri, they especially make the cloth (sometimes red with a kind of brown), with which they wrap their waists.
Clothing made from Turiri
On the day after our arrival, several Miranhas came from the bush, called by the news from the “drummers” who had already made themselves heard in the village. These instruments are large blocks of wood, sculptured and placed on some beams. They have in the upper part an aperture, made with a notch in the direction of the length; when hit with wood, sometimes with a rubber button at one end, they resound with a thumping noise, echoing far. We found this instrument, in fact, not in the format described by Gumilla among the Kaffirs; however, our Miranhas tried to give, with different pressure, a signal to all the neighbors that might be interested in our visit.
Trocano, a sound boom
(I) In the Rio Negro, ant baits are used just as in the Orinoco, to stop bleeding.