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I was exhausted, hungry and thirsty. When I saw the tribe I only thought, “I’m finally home” and fainted.
It seemed that the sun came late that day, but it was only a gloomy day I thought, we all did. In the jungle the fogs didn’t last so long. By the time that the sun was straight up all of that white cloud would be gone.
I’m an Indian from the Lauré tribe. Lauré means “red macaw”, we have that name because the tribe is full of red macaws, I’m telling you there’re a lot of them. My name is Amanara which means “rainy day”.
It’s an important day for me and for my four other friends. Today all five of us are completing sixteen years; as it is tradition in my tribe all five of us are suppose to go hunting. We wouldn’t only spend two or three hours in the forest, but it was three whole days hunting and surviving without any adults.
Later all my friends were up, when the sun entirely shows up we would leave without any food, water or weapons. It was not a game; that was the way that you could proof the tribe that you were an independent person and a brave man. I said bye to my family and my closest friends. Our tribe leader came and gave us the instructions. As we stepped in the jungle our adventure began. We were suppose to get enough food for our whole tribe, each one of us would need to bring about 4 or 5 baskets of meat.
After walking for so long my feet were burning, my muscles were sore. We walked until the sun was above our heads. Even though it was quite windy I could feel the sweat drops running down my back, it was humid because it had rained all night long, I could hardly breathe and the mosquitoes were practically having us for lunch. We finally found an agreeable place to stay. It was quite close to the river and we had shade. I thought that it was sort of strange that the sun was still hiding We quickly collected palm tree leaves, various sizes and types of branches and vines to erect a place were we could sleep and be safe. After our tent was finished my friends and I laid down to rest and even tough we were hungry like jaguar we all fell asleep. Guarani was the quiet one, Apuama was the speedy one, Nonbiquara was the smartest, Yacamin was the one who always cared about others and Antã always thought he was right even though he wrong. We all grew up together.
I woke up because of the wind. I looked up and the rain was about to come. There was nothing we could really do, except waiting for the storm to pass. We all told each other that we were not suppose to leave the tent.
Later Guarani and Nanbiquara prepared some weapons. Apuama and I made some baskets out of the palm tree leaves so that we would have something to contain our food. We all ended up sleeping again. It was late in the afternoon when I woke up, I looked to my left and Guarani and Apuama were asleep. I looked to my right and only Nonbiquara was there. Antã the stubborn one was gone. I immediately woke them up, all four of us started to look for him; we couldn’t find him anywhere. As we were coming back to the tent I looked close to a tree…and saw feet moving, I screamed for help and ran towards that tree; those feet were Antã’s. I only saw half of his body, because the other half was in the Anaconda’s mouth. I stood aghast, there was nothing we could do. An anaconda most of the times breaks the bones of it’s prey before eating it. There was no chance the he could be alive. When the boys got there, they all looked stunned. I felt sick. That was not a good day. Hopefully the next day was going to be better. We did a pretty good job with baking fishes. We also had some fruits, which were rich with sweetness and gave us some needed energy. I don’t know why but I felt guilty for Antã’s death. We were suppose to be responsible, and take care of each other. I heard this sniffing noise, I looked to my side; Yacamin was crying. I cried too.
In the next day the boys were up before me; I looked at Yacamin and he was still crying, while Guarani was trying to comfort him. For break fast we had some cacao, papayas and mangoes. It took quite a long time to get them; but they were appetizing. We had enough baskets too contain the peach palm (pupunhas) that we had to find that day. We decided that we would all go together and divided the amount of food that each one would need to get since Antã died. It was time for lunch by the time we came back and was starving; my mouth was watering for some fried fish. Our baskets were full of peach palms. My back was hurting and we all had quite a few thorns in our feet. Our legs were covered with scratches; what made me irritated were the tiny flies sitting on them.
Guarani and I opened some barks to get some scrumptious wood larvae, when you fry them…huumm… so crunch; when you place them in the banana leaf and you can roast those yummy larvae making them quite squishy. Delicious. The mosquitoes were aggravating me, my goodness there were too many of them. Especially with our open cuts. What was bizarre was that Guarani was the one who was being mostly attacked; I was worried because Guarani was the most sensible one, and before we left our tribe there were quite a few people with Dengue, a virus which is carried by the mosquitoes causing some high fever, head aches, your whole body feels sore, tiredness, lack of hunger and vomit; many people in our tribe have died because of that virus. The larvae were delightful and the fish…no words to describe. We played around, swam and laughed. The moon replaced the sun’s spot and the stars finally came out. We had a better day. The night was quite cold, I was having a nice night of sleep when suddenly I heard some steps outside I quickly grabbed my spear and went out to see what was there. It was not an animal, it was Guarani who was sitting close to the tent, all curled up; I knelled down to talk to him, I touched his back and he was burning hot. He said that all he had eaten that day came out of his mouth. We walked together to the river and he washed his face, I told him to drink some water but two minutes after drinking it all came out again. He was in pain I could see that in his eyes.
Guarani was dehydrated, weak, he had hurts all over his body. There was nothing much that he could do except to lie down and drink water. Now us tree had almost double work to do. We saved the same fruits from yesterday. We were ready to go hunting. Guarani stayed. We ran, jumped, tripped, climbed, we all got even more scratches on our chests, arms and legs; painful. We had a great amount of meat we caught some agoutis, monkeys, birds, capybaras, and two tapirs. It was all going perfectly fine until Yacamin was drilled by Nanbiquara’s spear. It all happened so fast. Nanbiquara had an incredible strength and tried to throw it at an agouti, but he missed and hit Yacamin’s chest. He didn’t scream, he just laid down there with pain in his face. There were teardrops coming out form his eyes, running down his cheeks. I’ve never seen Nanbiquara so desperate in my entire life. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please Yacamin, please forgive me” he kept repeating. Yacamin didn’t talk, he just smiled and passed away. Nandiquara was so nervous that he started to throw up. I stood still, I had all the animals and animal parts contained it then baskets. They all were heavy. That was not a good moment to ask a favor. I just said “We have enough meat. Let’s go”. Nandiquara was quavering. He did not say a word. He only walked with tears falling constantly from his face. When we were close to the tent he suddenly stopped, he stared at me and started to cry again, he said with a panicked voice : “What am I going to do, I killed him. If I go back to the tribe, and they find out I will be killed anyway!”. I realized that what he was going through. It was not a good situation to be in. We had some fruits for diner, again. I’m sure that we all lost a lot of weight during these days. But Guarani looked worst then me, I’m sure that he didn’t drink enough water. I was able to see most of his waist and chest bones. While I took care of the food by cleaning and cutting it, and repaired the tent, Nandiquara explained what happened to Guarani. The night was long enough for me to get my energies back.
The next morning Guarani looked a little better, but he still was dehydrated and had no strength. He did not get Dengue, but he did get some sort of virus that took all of his power. I noticed, Nandiquara was not there, I quickly ran out side before he could do something crazy; but it was too late. He had hanged himself. I knew by his tone of voice when we talked last night that he would do something foolish. I felt sick. I was tired of that already. I felt weak and had no hope. Went back to the tent. Guarani was crying. We both were tired and cheerless. Suddenly Guarani stood up slowly and said with a strong voice: “ Please Amanara, please let’s go home.” We both drank lots of water. We departed to our journey back home; using our last energies to carry the meat and the peach palm. It seemed that it was farther away then our way here. I started to recognize some areas of that forest; we were getting closer. I looked back, Guarani fainted. He had no more energy, not a single bit of it. The baskets had some strings to make it easier to carry. And so, I tied them to my arms and chest. I had no more strength to carry those beach palms. So I just dragged it. I walked, and walked it took forever. I was sore, my cuts seemed to be on fired, my eyes were hard to keep open. There started to appear more and more red macaws as I walked. I could hear their beautiful squeak. Their gorgeous flight made me smile.
I was exhausted, hungry and thirsty. When I saw the tribe I only thought, “I’m finally home” and fainted.