After a bug bitten night in Nueva Esperanza, Luke and I set out to give a basic English lesson to the local children. I don’t know if any of it stuck, but they were happy to be with us and get candy. I did my best to keep up with Luke’s instruction and draw pictures for the kids to understand. Then we thanked Gloria and it was back on the river again. About an hour down we arrived at Puququillo which sits atop towering cliffs. Sadly this is where we had to say goodbye to Javier, as he journeyed back down the river to get home. We are so grateful for he and his families kind hospitality and tolerance these past two weeks. This village is actually two native communities next to each other. Each has its own school which teaches in its native language. The house we are staying in is huge! It has cell service, a small store on the ground level, and an abundance of eggs; which with my dwindling Luna bar supply is a most welcomed. They also have a pet Wholly monkey tied to a small house in the back. Over lunch Luke asked me why I preferred drawing animals over people, and I explained that people are quite boring. Their shapes and colors don’t vary much, sticking to essentially rounded brown shapes. So while we were in the community meeting we challenged each other to draw men sitting across from us. Little did I know the man sitting next to me is a truly incredible painter, and Juingo carver, named Rider. After the meeting we went off with Rider to film his entire process of carving Juingos. I have been so impressed with his quality and form of line in his drawing. I look forward to a Christmas tree full of his elaborate carvings of native animals. I was very lucky in that he let me sit with him and try to carve one, but sadly I had no success in cutting away the tough skin.
When we were done we joined several women and children in walking down the hillside to a stream, where we enjoyed out bucket bath once again. Perhaps the part of this place I am most thankful for is that at night our host families store becomes a small restaurant where they make toast, cooked eggs, and fresh fruit smoothies. I take no shame in admitting I absolutely gorged myself. At first it was difficult to have only a few hours a day of electricity, and I am glad Campbell Luke and I savor them to watch episodes of C.S.I., but when you look up and see stars so clearly it becomes hard to miss the lights.