Thursday, November 24, 2005

email to grampa

The communities I visited: Meñepare and Gareno; are both on the "road". You cad drive there. As far as I heard, this makes them very different from the other communities, the ones you can only get to walking or in an MAF or oil company plane. I am determined to make it to one of those communities some day. The tribe, though. The most distinctive characteristic of the Huaorani tribe is that they are so easy to influence...they WANT to copy what you do, and they all want to do what everybody else is doing. Essentially, that means that both the missionaries and the oil company have made mountains of changes...but don't get excited for the missionaries because there is never any commitment to the changes, the next time something new rolls around it takes precedence. One missionary I asked says the Huaorani tribe is the one that has had the most missionary influence over the years, and yet the less growth or commitment to God. I was confused, though, by a lot of what I learnt about the culture. There seem to be a lot of contradictions. I was only exposed to it for about a week, hardly enough time to get a good picture, and I am hesitant to come to any conclusions. we went as guests, mostly, but also did some bible lessons for kids...let me just say i was extremely uncomfortable doing that, in a cultural context i didn't understand, in a language they only understood minimally. i was reluctant, knowing how much damage missionaries have done to the gospel by pressing their CULTURE on people that don't share it, instead of presenting the TRUTH in a universal way...all done in ignorance. i felt very much in ignorance, and i really didn't want to make mistakes. \r\n \r\ni enjoyed a lot of it. it takes the Huaorani tribe a long time to warm up and trust newcomers, so the first days were hard, me being used to Bastión. It was SO different. In hte second place, one little girl walked up to me the first day I was there and wanted to hold my hand. In Bastión, I wouldn\'t have batted an eye, but it wazs the first time a kid was so forward, I did some investigation and discovered she was the daughter of the schoolteacher, they were Kitchwa Indian, not Huaorani, and had lived mostly in the city. Then it made sense. \r\n\r\n \r\nMost of the schoolteachers aren\'t Huaorani...most Huaorani don\'t even graduate high school, and if they do, they sure aren\'t going to come back to the jungle. There is a law that the local education board has that the schoolteachers (mostly Kitchwa) can\'t remain at their post as village school teacher for more than 2 years. I don\'t think I like that law very much, it doesn\'t make sense to me in a culture that is naturally wary of newcomers, but what do I know about it. \r\n\r\n \r\nThe oil company seems to have effected life so deeply. Young men can go away (leave their families), work for the oil company and get $300 for two weeks work: an exhorbitant amount in Bastión, even more so in the jungle communities where truly, they don\'t even need money! When they get this much money, they don\'t know the real worht of it, and go into the city to buy stuff and get r ipped off by the local business men, anyways! They return to their tribe with either expensive things that are useless(refrigerators in communities where the generator only provides electricity for 4 hours a day) or useless things that were expensive ("$100 for a sack of potatoes? Sure, I\'ve got the money")...and all the while, parents are being irresponsible with their families. Also, within the first day I ran into a social ill i didn\'t expect to find in the Amazon jungle: alcohol. Two drunk youth who wouldn\'t let us past a road block through their village. One of the misisonaries I was with said that oiul executives fly in, the whole tribe gathers around their plane and they say "We have brought a gift for you!" and instead of giving them a lawnmover or a generator or something the whole community can benefit from, they toss the crowd a keg of beer. \r\n",1] ); //--> i enjoyed a lot of it. it takes the Huaorani tribe a long time to warm up and trust newcomers, so the first days were hard, me being used to Bastión. It was SO different. In hte second place, one little girl walked up to me the first day I was there and wanted to hold my hand. In Bastión, I wouldn't have batted an eye, but it wazs the first time a kid was so forward, I did some investigation and discovered she was the daughter of the schoolteacher, they were Kitchwa Indian, not Huaorani, and had lived mostly in the city. Then it made sense. Most of the schoolteachers aren't Huaorani...most Huaorani don't even graduate high school, and if they do, they sure aren't going to come back to the jungle. There is a law that the local education board has that the schoolteachers (mostly Kitchwa) can't remain at their post as village school teacher for more than 2 years. I don't think I like that law very much, it doesn't make sense to me in a culture that is naturally wary of newcomers, but what do I know about it. The oil company seems to have effected life so deeply. Young men can go away (leave their families), work for the oil company and get $300 for two weeks work: an exhorbitant amount in Bastión, even more so in the jungle communities where truly, they don't even need money! When they get this much money, they don't know the real worht of it, and go into the city to buy stuff and get r ipped off by the local business men, anyways! They return to their tribe with either expensive things that are useless(refrigerators in communities where the generator only provides electricity for 4 hours a day) or useless things that were expensive ("$100 for a sack of potatoes? Sure, I've got the money")...and all the while, parents are being irresponsible with their families. Also, within the first day I ran into a social ill i didn't expect to find in the Amazon jungle: alcohol. Two drunk youth who wouldn't let us past a road block through their village. One of the misisonaries I was with said that oiul executives fly in, the whole tribe gathers around their plane and they say "We have brought a gift for you!" and instead of giving them a lawnmover or a generator or something the whole community can benefit from, they toss the crowd a keg of beer. \r\n \r\nMost of the kids I met were sponsored through Compassion International. I don\'t know how much of an influence that is having. The Compassion workers seem to tour the communities three or four times a year, spend 5 days max in each community, to get tyhe letters written and rthe christmas gifts handed out and make sure the kids are still in school. I guess at least they are good for that, kids who stop going to school get dropped from the Compassion benefits after a year. And again, I was only there for a week. It would be unfair to judge. \r\n\r\n \r\nThats just a little bit about it. If you ask more specific quesiotns, I\'m sure I could think of more to say. I did end up enjoying the kids after the initial, trust earning period. I jumped off a bridge, climbed a tree, had a mudfight, engaged in numerous waterfights, river frolicks, etc. I liked the kids, I really did. I liked them more than American school kids, but less than Bastión kids. I wouldn\'t have minded staying longer if \r\n\r\na) the other people I was with were gone\r\nb) i had a better bug repellant\r\nc ) i could eventually learn more of the language\r\n \r\n",1] ); //--> Most of the kids I met were sponsored through Compassion International. I don't know how much of an influence that is having. The Compassion workers seem to tour the communities three or four times a year, spend 5 days max in each community, to get tyhe letters written and rthe christmas gifts handed out and make sure the kids are still in school. I guess at least they are good for that, kids who stop going to school get dropped from the Compassion benefits after a year. And again, I was only there for a week. It would be unfair to judge. Thats just a little bit about it. If you ask more specific quesiotns, I'm sure I could think of more to say. I did end up enjoying the kids after the initial, trust earning period. I jumped off a bridge, climbed a tree, had a mudfight, engaged in numerous waterfights, river frolicks, etc. I liked the kids, I really did. I liked them more than American school kids, but less than Bastión kids. I wouldn't have minded staying longer if a) the other people I was with were gone b) i had a better bug repellant c ) i could eventually learn more of the language \r\n \r\nquestions?\r\nlove, bethany-- -so, friends, as you depart your computer screens to declare war against the days and weeks of your existence; as you prepare yourselves for battles of love; as you disperse your \'upward-beating hearts\' among the successes and depressions of our reality, remember one thing:\r\nall is fair. \r\n\r\n",0] ); D(["mi",10,2,"107c467319275503",0,"0","les horne","les","les.horne2@sympatico.ca","me","24 Nov",["Bethany Horne "] ,[] ,[] ,[] ,"24-Nov-2005 17:31","RE: the jungle","Thanks, Beth. Yes I have lots of questions that I will ask you next week when...",[] ,1,,,"24 November 2005_17:31","On 24/11/05, les horne wrote:","On 24/11/05, les horne wrote:","sympatico.ca",,["","",1] ,""] ); //--> and I wouldn't mind going back.

2 comments:

your friend said...

you are my friend. thank God you are my friend.

luuuke said...

yea I got one of those badges (have you ever talked about...) bethany, and I sport it ever-so-cooly on my most modern laptop tote bag.