Remember the Rainforest 1
one afternoon he was back with his boat, and since I had also sent another boat to fish at the border, I had to land alone on an island of sand for the night. The Indians noticed here, in the sand, the footsteps of people, which they attributed to their Umauas adversaries, and were so frightened that they jumped in the canoe and wanted to flee. At a cost, I held them back and made them realize how dangerous it would be if they had sensed us by the noise of the paddling. So I forced them to spend the night huddled at the end of the island, without preparing the hot meal, while I, well armed, but weakened by the fever, stayed sentry all night in the rain. Alone there, in the midst of a band of men, half-wild and tatooed, the saddest forebodings passed through my mind, and painful sensations fell upon me, all the more so since the feverish state had returned to me for two days. I noticed an increase in the chills, a condition probably made worse by the painful work of this evening.
Barrancos de Oacari today, with dam
In the Barrancos de Oacari, one day of travel to the north-west, the shores, particularly the left, rise to more than 100 feet, and, further on, in the interior, reach even higher (1). The night of 26th to 27th of January I spent with the two other canoes together with ours, on an islet situated in the middle of the river, which had to the east a free sandbank and a reef of ferruginous stoneware. Here we find many indications of the recent stay of Umauas warriors: dishes and broken pots, vestiges of bonfires
and remains of a kind of biscuit that they make with cassava, and the remnants of their camp. The fronds of the large paxiuba palm
were still planted in the sand, still close to each other, so as to form a half-moon, protecting the serenity of at least the upper part of the Indian body. I longed to get to know this fearful nation, and I thought the next morning that this aspiration would be satisfied, when I saw in a cove a very long, narrow vessel, raised on both sides, which my people took for a Umauas “uba". Approaching us, we saw in it the Mameluco of Ega that, with his companions, harvested salsaparillha.
Mameluca, female child of Black and Indian parents
(1) These formations of clay were the ones that, among others, gave to the Japura the reputation of “river keeper of metals “ for here at first sight appear bright, heavy stones, which the Indians already took to Ega, as precious, and I proved that they were only iron pyrite.
But other than these, I found only clay deposits of varying fine tones, alternating with the predominant red clay, and below, the general formations of ferruginous stoneware, compactly or variously altered by the river, as well as, finally, large trees transported by the flood and transformed into lignite.
The water from the springs, springing up here and there, from these clay ravines, was considerably colder than the river, but its taste was not entirely pure, and it was muddled when I treated it with the astringent bark of an acacia. I believe that it contains iron,
and since this formation is so widely dispersed, the essential part communicating with the water, so it must be thought that the ferruginous part, by adding the waters of Upper Japura with this, contributes to the development of cirrhosis of the liver and of the kidney, here endemic and almost general.