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Updates from the Last Chance to Paint team

Day 6 – some challenges

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Challenge for everyone: Can you find out the name of the bird in the blog photo? Sadly we are not sure, so it’s up to you to find out for us!

Last night was very exciting for us as our travelling companions and friends Robin Hanbury-Tenison (20c worlds greatest explorer) and his son Merlin arrived by boat to Mutum! They are not staying in the same place as us but in a massive 3 storey tree house right on the edge of the rainforest. It’s a real dream for them!

When they woke up this morning they saw half a dozen small white monkeys running around at the top of the tree house, a spider the size of a mans hand, and the could hear a whole flock of birds in the trees. It must have been such a magical moment for them!

When John and I woke up today, we discovered it was raining really heavily. This was a huge disappointment for us and not only is rain not compatible with outdoor painting, but we genuinely require full sun to keep our devices going.

At the moment we are struggling with our technology, especially with the satellite that puts out our videos. You will have noticed that yesterday’s video didn’t make it Live as much to our horror not only the battery on the satellite was completely flat, but the satellite battery charger was as well! This made it impossible for us. As we are desperate to still be able to put our videos the Yawanawá have turned on a generator especially to allow us to charge. Fingers crossed it works!

For now though, I can keep you updated via the blog with all our news until and if we manage to get our video satellite back up and running – it is a massive unknown at the moment. We are still filming every day and IF the satellite fails us we will put these out when we return home. Apologies in the mean time.

Having looked at the weather, and looked at our options, our painting location today is in the village. In fact it’s on the 2nd floor of Robin and Merlin’s accommodation. As it doesn’t have any walls or windows, simply open air, it makes the perfect place to paint for John especially always takes reference from his surroundings.

In the house next door to us we can hear the sound of a television which is powered by the generator in the village. Around the village we can also hear music, which I presume is normal Brazilian radio, coming from houses. It’s very surreal!

Unfortunately for John he isn’t feeling 100% but the Yawanawá are really looking after him. Don’t worry though he is still well enough to paint. The Yawanawá have provided coconut water straight from the coconut itself for John, as it will help rehydrate him and keep his sugar levels up. Robin informed us that coconuts and the water in them can be used as intravenous drips because they are so sterile. They have also brought some yellow fruits over, which look like small yellow bell peppers. They say that they are also very good for illness and dehydration. Nixiwaka also is under the weather with a bad cold which is a sad for him. We have everything crossed that everyone will be on top form again tomorrow!

Talking of natural medicines and illness, this fits well with a question we have received:

Do the tribe have access to modern medicine?

As far we know they do have access to modern cold/flu medicines as one of the tribe has been using those. They have their babies in a local town hospital called Cruzeiro Do Sul.

This “local” hospital is still a 6hr boat ride followed by a 2hr car ride away. Definitely not easily accessible!

Here are some more questions and answers for you:

Do the children go to school or do they learn from their parents and nature?

Both. They go to school which starts at 7am and we are hoping to film the school at some point this week. The children do a large part of their learning just by living in and out of the rainforest and from the elders in the tribe who bestow knowledge onto them.

What tools do you use to hunt with?

The Yawanawá use guns and dogs to hunt birds and mammals. When fishing they use big circular nets. They also use certain plant based poison to stun the fish to bring them all the surface.

Why do you paint your faces for ceremonies?

They paint their faces to respect the rainforest and to respect the spirits of the rainforest. The designs are often based on the powerful animal in the rainforest such as the jaguar and the boa constrictor. They believe by having the pattern of the most powerful animals that it will give them protection in this world and in the spirit world they visit during the ceremonies. . . Small changes make a big difference!

Don’t forget that small changes make a big difference when it comes to the environment and as I’ve said in a previous blog we will give you hints and tips on how to make your lives as environment aware as possible!

So here’s a couple more tips:

4. Try and walk to as many places as you can. If you leave yourself enough time to walk to where you’re going, then not only will you feel healthy, but it will reduce the amount of energy you use therefore helping the planet a tiny little bit. 5. If you have a garden, try and make it as wild life friendly as possible. Animals, especially birds, like it when the hedges are slightly scruffy/overgrown to give them a place to live. Bees also love flowers, so get planting those flowers in time for summer!

More from me soon, Martha-Lilly x

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