National Geographic : 1959 Mar
Grilled carcasses pass inspection. Indians smoke the meat over a slow fire until it becomes as hard as wood. Repeated smoking preserves it for weeks. Cooked game and a tortoise hang above the reach of dogs. 344 Just as a wheel is a closed structure, so is the village of the Kraho, and the village square is the true center of every thing that happens. A strongly marked community life prevails in such a vil lage, and an extraordinary sense of fair ness is displayed toward every resident. About 120 Indians live here, but at midday the village seems dead. No one is to be seen, either in the village square or on the boulevard. Soon an old woman sticks her head from a door. Seeing us, she draws nearer. She is blind in one eye and has a goiter. "Is it thou, Vuvu?" she asks. "Hast thou finally come back? Thou hast been away so long and hast not forgotten us?" The old woman embraces me and caresses me tenderly, then weeps loudly and plaintively-so many have died dur ing my absence, so much has happened. It is Tui, my grandmother, who adopted me eight years ago. "Look, Tui, little grandmother, I have brought my wife. Her name is Vilma." Hunters Sleep Under the Stars The men are not at the village. For days they have been hunting on the savanna. Vilma remains with the women. and I go to find the men camping near a crystal-clear spring surrounded by a grove of buriti palms. The hunters have not built huts of leaves and branches, as they do when they bring women and children on long hunting trips in the summer. They sleep in the open on straw mats. Nearly every hunter has a fire under a barbecue frame of poles, on which the meat lies for smoking. At night it is stowed away in little hammocks made of two fan-shaped palm leaves tied to gether and hung between posts driven into the ground. In this way the meat is safe from the plundering, especially at night, of the ever-hungry Indian dogs. Mornings, the hunters go into the forest on the banks of a stream. Others roam dry, prickly bamboo thickets. There is game here, far from the vil lage: monkeys, tapirs, golden hares, sloths, porcupines, anteaters, and, on very lucky days, even a wild pig or deer. Almost all the hunters have muzzle loaders. A few still use bow and arrow.