Canarana!

The bus from Brasilia was relatively painless, though we are not fond of air conditioned environments, neither moving nor stationery, much to the bemusement of most Brazilians.

Rainy Day in CanaranaWe were hoping for a gentle first day here, having arrived late morning after 14 hours on the road. No chance! In the supermarket we bumped into Pablo Kamaiurá and soon found ourselves plunged in at the deep end, explaining the project to several representatives of Indian organisations and answering questions. The metaphor was particularly relevant because before we could leave the supermarket the heavens opened and the street quickly became a river.

The Boat Arriving.Half an hour into the meeting Amanuá Kamaiurá and Kamirrã Waurá arrived, soaked through from the continuing rain, with the news that the boat, which was only scheduled to arrive in two days, was already here and the driver was trying to find us. We eventually tracked the truck down, and the boat was unloaded to the safety of the FUNAI Cultural Centre.

The next day we had a very successful meeting with Aritana Yawalapití, supreme chief of the Parque Indígena Xingú. Exchanging Languages.The rest of the day we spent cleaning the boat and exchanging languages with Atatiro, a very bright young Kalapalo; we taught him English, he taught us Kalapalo. His English advanced much faster than our Kalapalo, but at least we can say ‘Good Morning’ now!

A little insight into the unexpected spanners which cause the works to grind to a halt. In Brasilia we had difficulty in extracting money from cash machines. There are only a few where foreign cash/credit cards work, identified by a row of card symbols. We followed the instructions, including “Maximum withdrawal R$1,000”, but no deal, no machine would give us the money. We asked bank staff, we tried using “Credit Card” instead of “Debit Card – Current Account”, but nothing. On the last day, a flash of inspiration! We asked for R$900 instead of a thousand and – Bingo! Moral: don’t believe what cash machines tell you. A further problem in Canarana is that the ONLY cash machine here with the row of symbols is – you guessed it! – out of service, so we are having to use the card wherever possible, and our slender cash resources are fast running out.


⇒Next: Final Preparations

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