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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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moans and coughing, as if someone was on their death bed. In the light of a lamp, I saw all the crew attacked with violent fever, and Captain Zani almost dying. With a fever, he had eaten a large portion of vinegar like lemonade, and his condition worsened. All the Indians, a Scottish mulatto and a young lad, whom he had to serve him, were sick, and the endemic, ceaseless fever, violent attack of vermin, had not left any color in his face. I will not tire the reader with the description of general illness and the remedies employed to combat it. Improvement was needed to allow patients to be shipped downstream; only the convalescence of Mr. Zani was extremely time consuming. Also, the boat was not ready, which we had begun to build, and we had to wait for chief Joao Manuel to return. I divided my occupation between that of nurse and that of shipbuilder. The drying of the trunk, laid on its side and toasting by the fire, needed to be delayed, in order not to crack it. In this work, we used the early hours of the morning, during which, in general, there was no wind.

Burning dug-out canoe today

The Indians had to be careful not to overheat the hull; they wielded brooms to sprinkle the places, then too heated, with water or dilute clay, which they carried before them in the carapace of turtles.

The hull of the canoe, so dug from a log, was about half a dozen feet in diameter. The open ends were closed with boards, on which were applied melted pitch. With the construction of the canoe, I was occupied for 10 days in the desolation of this wilderness. One day we heard touches on the sound boom, and soon afterwards we saw on the southern side a number of small canoes coming down the river.

It was the chief, returning with his warlike hosts and his prisoners. Though my feelings about the recent scenes of horror and my own state of sickness had dulled my senses, I had to admit my eyes had never seen a spectacle of such low demeanor and inhumanity as this one that was offered before me,.

The men, in number of 30, had been convinced by the chief, after reconciliation between the fighters of their tribe and the application of the punishment in some, to follow with him in the invasion. Now they all came back, bringing traces of the rude pleasures of triumph and the most disorderly savagery on their disfigured faces. Sweat beads, with red and black spots, paintings spread over the chest and belly, with black ribbons and arabesques painted on the thighs and legs,

bearing round scales or whole shells in the cartilage of the nose and ears pierced with bamboo, and around the head the diadem of showy feathers:

they brandished their heavy clubs (barasanga, tamarana) of black palm wood

Warrior with club

 

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