Last night we camped by the bridge near the Teneie Marques, a Cinta Larga community. Brazil was playing in the World Cup. We could hear cheers coming from the community. We think the whole village was watching the game together. Brazil won and just before dark two teachers and several children walked across the bridge to play soccer on the beach near our camp. I struck up a simple conversation with one of the teachers using my basic Portuguese. Soon all of the kids were admiring our canoe and watching us. We tried to pronounce a few Cinta Larga words and everyone laughed.
We asked if we could visit the school and the teachers said that we could, but that we would need to ask the Casica (chief) for permission. In the morning we learned that the Casica was not in the village, but we were able to talk to the second chief and she gave us permission to visit the school.
This morning we were a little nervous because we were not sure if we would be welcomed by the Cinta Larga. Our nervousness quickly disappeared after we entered the village and were met with smiles and generosity. We are very grateful that the Cinta Larga let us visit their community. We learned that there are about 3,500 Cinta Larga and they live in about 15 villages. The children learn to speak Cinta Larga at home when they are young. They learn Portuguese at school and they have a textbook that is in Portuguese and Cinta Larga.
We were able to spend several hours visiting with some of the teachers, nurses, as well as the Cinta Larga. Everyone has been very friendly and I think we have made a good impression. We also visited with Oito-mina, who was one of the Cinta Larga guides on a rafting trip down the Rio Roosevelt about 20 years ago. He gave us two giant arrows that he made and we visited with him in his home for a long time. We saw several hunters going off into the jungle with bows and arrows that looked just like the ones that Oito-mina gave us.
This afternoon we said goodbye and paddled a few miles downstream to the next rapids. We are now camped at a beautiful spot in the middle of the rapids. Tomorrow we will continue downstream past several more rapids. We will look for signs of Roosevelt’s campsites and continue our journey in his footsteps.