We were amazed to see these tiny monkeys used as hair pieces for the Indian women when we lived in the Amazon area of Brazil. These cute little creatures are extremely small and behave quite well in their mobile homes in the women’s hair. They are so small their weight is practically nil. We saw some up close and their very sharp pointed teeth could be a problem if they were angry, it seems. Once we saw one grit its teeth and let out a sound similar to a bird singing. It was beautiful. We were impressed by how many women used these as hair pieces. We also noticed that they slipped a vanilla bean pod into their hair also to give it a refreshing aroma.
When one lives 2,000 miles up the Amazon River in Brazil, we had to figure out our transportation needs. We soon learned from other missionaries in the area that one way of going home on furlough was to take a plane from Lelticia, Colombia and go to Bogota and fly from there to Miami, Florida. This worked out quite well and it was an easy way to travel home each 4 years. Even in emergencies it was nice to be able to quickly get back home. The flight over the Andes from Leticia always gave us a breathtaking view of that magnificent range of mountains.
Some would refer to this exit from Brazil as going out the back door.
Brazil has scores of beautiful beaches. In the city of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, where we lived for over 10 years, there were many of them. The white sand and beautiful coast land palms and vegetation make a gorgeous scene. Visitors and locals love to spend plenty of time at these spots along Brazil’s coast. All have heard of the famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. They are world famous. One could spend hours on the Internet just looking at these fabulous spots in Brazil.
At the river in Benjamin Constant, where we lived for a number of years, this was a familiar scene at the river’s edge. A canoe bringing bananas from this family’s plot of ground on an island or the mainland, a platform where ladies washed clothes, and a canoe with a motor and another which would be propelled by using a paddle or oar. These were usual sites along the river. The load of bananas would be sold to provide a very meager amount of cash to buy some essential for this mother and her family. At other places, one could see larger vessels bringing more things to be sold. Life along the river is vibrant. The river is the lifeline for products being purchased and sold. (An excerpt from my upcoming book on life in Brazil)
Living in the tropics brings exciting challenges. We learned before we went to the Amazon jungles, that Seervel refrigerators are wonderful. Then we purchased stove that also ran on kerosene and it looked nice enough to put in the kitchen. Both of these ran on kerosene, one to make things cold, the other to heat and cook food. Amazing isn’t it? We learned that storing a Servel refrigerator while home for a year had its drawbacks also, until we learned to “burp” the machine when we returned to use it again. That’s right turn it upside down and allow those chemicals that produce the cold, when heated up to “burp” and normally it would do a fine job for the next 4 years. The deep freezepictured here was a lifesaver so we could store meat when plentiful to use when it was scarce. What a blessing. (This is an excerpt from my upcoming book on life in Brazxil)
Brazil has an amazing way of making highways. It may not be done as much now as in former days, but they are well constructed. Granite like bricks with a name in Portuguese very long (take a look = paralelepípedos) . These stones make wonderful, durable highways. They even invented a certain mix to caulk the brinks with to give more stability. After saying all this, would you believe that anything so strong could be “undone”? I din’t think so either. One day when we were living in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, I left ouir house and went to another section of town to do some shopping. As I left I noticed that a couple of these stones in the pavement in front of our house were dislodged and one was missing. I don’t know how that happened. It was raining pretty hard when I left. When I returned from shopping, to may amazement, I looked at what was once a very small hole, the size of a brick, now had been washed away by very hard rain and was so big it would hold two normal sixe buses inside the hole. All that in just a short time. I will never forget t
Winds can sweep over the rain forest of the upper Amazon, causing unbelievable damage. One day the hired hand came running to my house saying the missionary pilot’s house was struck by wind and it took the roof off. It was hard to believe but the adjoining pictures show what happened. The pilot and his wife returned to see this mess and the wife cried as she saw the damage. The roof leaning against the palm tree was quite a sight. The worker said that as the wind lifted it up, you could hear the nails popping out of the aluminum sheeting like popcorn. (This and other stories are excerpts from our future book on life in Brazil)
Packing your belongings to take to another country is a challenge. Here’s how we did it for Brazil. In those years it was best to pack in barrels to protect your things. I made plastic bags for liners. To do this I used a candle and “welded” the sides shut meling the material and thus forming a plastic bag. This was very heavy plastic. We put silica gel bags inside each container to minimize moisture problems. The barrels were clamped shut and locked. We sometimes welded them shut for protection. With our name on the barrel and the proper address according to the customs regulations, they were sent to Brazil. This was a wonderful way to keep our things together and safely. We had a record of what was in each barrel so it was easy to find what we needed. Each barrel was numbered for that reason. (This is an excerpt of an article coming in our book to be printed this year)
You probably thought this stack of wood was to heat the building. No, this is a common sight everywhere. This stack of wood was used to bake bread. They heat up those huge ovens and some of the best bread we ever tasted came out of them. In the Amazon stacks of wood were used for the steam powered generators that produced electricity for the town. We are sure that since our departure from Brazil, they probably use gas or electricity to run their businesses. In the Amazon, the large ovens made of mud bricks were fired up and it didn’t take very long for the first batch of bread to bake. Then each succeeding batch took a little bit longer as the oven cooled down.
But the bread was so delicious. The bread boy went from house to house after 4:30 each morning selling this oven hot bread. (This is an excerpt from our book which will be published this year)
My thatch roof study was a wonderful place. You can’t see them when this picture was taken, but I made Venetian blinds that hung on the outside of the screened windows. Notice the typewriter (someone may ask “What is that?”) See the telephone that connected the study to our house so my wife could call me anytime she wanted. I even had a small light for nighttime use. In this classroom I taught several Brazilian grades of school and also our son’s kindergarten course. It was a nice cool place for school and study. This is an excerpt from a book I am writing which I will announce when it is published.