I know I know, the title may seem bad but I will explain later. Going off of my last blog, it’s still Day 6 and now it’s time to take a canoe right next door to the home of the Waorani. When we arrived, we were once again greeted by parrots hanging out in a tree. This time there were a total of 4 parrots; 3 being the ones you saw in the last blog and the other being a smaller parrot, which you’ll see later how it becomes my homeboy. We were then greeted by the family we saw after breakfast but this time with the elder of the tribe. I knew we were going to get along just great when he pulled out the massive blowgun and their wooden spear. I was shocked at the size of the blowgun, it was massive! The darts that were blown were just thin pieces of wood. They first showed us how to use it and then it was our turn. I stepped up and grabbed the blowgun and I’ll admit it was pretty heavy. I aimed down my sight and blew hard… bullseye. My dad would have said “that’d be a dead deer”, instead of deer, however, the Waorani used the blowgun for animals like monkeys and birds. We then tried the spear. Now listen I am not a javelin thrower so I was not good at throwing it at all. However, the elder then showed us how it was done after everyone tried and threw that thing dead in the middle of the target. It was so impressive. I mentioned in the last blog that the family had tribal symbols on their face from the fruit called, achiote. As a way of saying welcome, they wanted to give us all symbols. The girls all got the red streak through the eyes and the guys got the 4 dots. Then with all our faces dripped out, the family wanted to play a game of soccer. Finally, the one thing I was hoping to do on the trip was finally going to happen. The first game we played everyone was split randomly and we all played to 3 goals. My team won that game but now it was time for a game of the United States vs. Ecuador hence the title. See doesn’t sound so bad now huh? I don’t like talking about it but we lost 0-3. Yeah, not sure what really happened there. Now everyone was super sweaty so we all hopped in the river and it was so refreshing. I had to strip down to my underwear since I wasn’t wearing a bathing suite at the time and let me tell you, everyone loved my Christmas Vacation themed underwear. True fashion right there. After swimming, we were able to buy some of the handmade items that the family made. I bought a bracelet and a really cool necklace. Everyone now calls me the Black Panther when I wear the necklace since it looks very close to the one in the movie. I also got a gift for my mom for Mother’s Day but shhh it’s a secret. Finally, before leaving, we got hung up on the parrots again and took them off the tree and started holding them to take pictures. I grabbed the smaller one and put it on my shoulder for the pictures. When we were finished, it seemed like he did not want to leave from my shoulder. You could say we were officially bros.
After a couple of minutes, sadly it was time to head back and have dinner. We all took a cold shower in the complete darkness with only our phones being the source of light and if that wasn’t enough, these are the showers that barely had water pressure. Luxury living, I know. After another amazing meal, it was time to head back to the Waorani family for a tribal dance night. It was completely dark when we left the house and while on the boat, the night sky was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The bright stars filled the night sky and constellations were clear as day. Now, you can see stars in the States, but nothing compared to how many there were and how bright they glistened in the Amazon. When we arrived back to the tribe, the family was dressed in tribal outfits. We sat down and they began. The guys made noises as they galloped in a circle around the girls who were singing walking forward and backward. It was nothing I have ever seen before and it was definitely different from dancing in the American culture. We then had the opportunity to join in and dance with them. After their tribal dance, then they wanted to hear some American music. The 2 songs that we all sang were “I Want It That Way” and “Sweet Caroline”. They loved them! To finish the night and this amazing experience, the family grabbed a speaker and we grabbed a partner to dance to Ecuadorian music.
This day will truly go down as one of my most greatest and adventurous days of my life. It was so easy to pass out on my bed from all the activities we did. For me, it was truly sad to leave the Waorani family after creating such a bond with them and sharing our different cultures.
Day 7 just consisted of the group traveling back by the canoes. This time is took around 6 and a half hours since we were going upstream for most of the ride. Oh I should also mention how it was pouring down rain for most of the trip. Gotta love the rainforest!
And that was it. That was my experience being completely off-the-grid. Yes being my age it was a struggle without the luxury of my phone, and hot water, but it was all apart of the experience. It definitely a time I will never forget. I’ll see all of you in the next one. Stay dry!