This small pueblo of a few hundred people was so welcoming from the moment we “docked” at their “port.” The port was no more than a muddy stretch of sand along the river and a few broken boards. But it was our disembarkation point!”
It felt as if they hadn’t had any visitors in over a decade the way the kids all ran down to meet us, touched us, held our hands and just kept staring at us. The adults looked at us from the porches of their raised huts. Not sure what they were thinking – something along the lines of, “Wow – if we cooked those two large women (Cindy and Stephanie) there would be enough food to last the village for awhile! Fresh meat.
Most all of the food they eat comes directly from the land. Lots of fruit and fish. They are very creative with what they have locally. For example…there is an abundance of bananas and I think we have eaten them every conceivable way they can be made. Kind of reminds me of the Forrest Gump movie when they are talking about all the ways you can make shrimp. So we have had bananas… boiled, fried green (not quite ripe), fried ripe, mashed, baked, in juice, raw, in a ball mixed with onions, made into chilfles (chips), and roasted. Next stop off to the ice cream store for a banana split! The above photo is Cindy and Paolo (one of the youth group members) sampling a type of fruit that is half lemon, half orange. At least there is no banana flavor in that fruit!!!
We stayed at the pastor’s hut which was a raised wood type house coverd with a palm thatched roof. An open living room area is where we slept. Well we laid down at night on a 1/4″ thin foam roll and covered ourselves in a mosquito net to stop the blood sucking mosquitoes from feasting on our bodies. There was an open air cooking area and then an enclosed “market” where they sell basic items.All of this was in a home that measured 20 x 15. No interior walls, everything was open. Not your 5 star hotel but the hospitality was beyond words and the views – beautiful.
Futbol (soccer) is a way of life here. The kids start young and it is a huge part of their lives. Every village has at least one part of it that is centered around a futbol field. Huts, schools, botiquins (medical huts), village markets. So we broke out a frisbee and played on the soccer field and it wasn’t long after that a soccer ball appeared. We held our own though and played with the kids in the village.
Our overnight trip to Tarapoto was a success. We had a children’s bible program and handed out coloring books, crayons, and some hard candy. Each child got a small wood cross necklace and one of the bracelets that many of you have been so diligent to make. We received over 4500!! One large suitcase was dedicated to the transportation of the bracelets!!
Small gifts – but a reminder that they are loved and not forgotten.
In the village of Tarapoto and in His Grip,