National Geographic : 1963 Mar
Dawn and the soundof Indian laugh ter brought me reassurance about these fierce people-a sense of ease I felt for the rest of our eight-day stay with them. We posed no threat to their beloved jungle; they shared with us their food and shelter. The Motilones are small people, with healthy cocoa-colored skin drawn tight ly over well-muscled frames. The tallest man we saw stood under 5 feet 8 inches in height. The women wore a short skirt, wo ven from wild cotton; the men, a small, square loincloth. But everyone wore necklaces of iridescent beetle wing-cov ers or buttons ripped from the clothes dropped by missionaries. Indian apartment house, seen from the air, resembles an ant hill. The windowless thatched bohio shelters a community of 70 Motilones. At home in a hammock, a mother (left), father, and child rest at day's end. These Indians, so long untouched by the world, must now face the 20th century. Bustle of manioc hangs from the tumpline of a Motilone girl carrying food from field to home. riously as my friend wrote in his notebook: Meemee: to eat. By dusk we had a 30-word vocabulary and enough bananas for a month. That night we swung restlessly in hammocks. Our reception was encouraging, but the atmosphere inside the smoky, crowded bohio was forbidding. Beside me a sick man alternately gasped with fever and shivered with chills. Under his hammock a tiny warming fire illuminated bleeding gashes that covered his body. Blood letting was the only cure he knew for this malady. I gave him aspirin from my pack sack. His expression said thanks. "Sashini,sashini," he moaned, rubbing his chest, and before going to sleep Bob made another entry in his notebook: Sashini: pain. Above us armies of rats and cockroaches rustled the palm thatch on their nightly rounds; dying fires flickered and crackled. 364 HS EKTACHROME(ABOVE) AND KODACHROMEU N.G.S.