In this inhabited jungle, the human voice is an ancestral melody and open secret in a silent and forbidden territory. The cellphone fever hasn’t reached here yet, but their need for communication is as important as ours. It’s 8am and one must go out to find food as in any other part of the world. The heads of these families do so in groups, working together and mutually helping each other in order to turn the impossible into something possible, hunting monkeys, and other inhabitants of the upper regions.
The macaque they are searching for are dwarves that are invisible to our urban eyes, eyes incapable of looking beyond our belly buttons. But for them, aside from being visible, they constitute the hunter’s basic diet. Fifteen people are participating in this choral chase. Everyone has their place and duty. And it will be this way until death claims them.
Because of its taste, the spider monkey, the largest primate of the Amazon ecosystem is the animal that is most appreciated in this village. But today, many other different species crossed their paths. The prego macaque and the wariva are also delicious. The Zo’é call the latter the kiki, and they won’t let it get away if they can help it. They’re very active prey and in order to catch them, it’s important to immobilize them. That’s precisely what they do with their streams of arrows and also why they strike on the trees, making noise and confusing them, cutting off any possible escape.
It’s almost impossible to drive an arrow through one of these agile animals but nonetheless, they try it over and over again. They don’t give up. After two hours, the macaque are tired and frightened but convinced that the 50 meters that separate them from the ground will dissuade the hunters. These poor monkeys are not familiar with the pride and the stubbornness of a young Amazon Indian boy.
Various young men turn into ape men and elegantly, effortlessly climb up the tree trunk all the way to the top in search of the animals. The village people admire them and between all of them, it’s as if they were telepathically pushing them on. After all, the feast depends on their success. They’re armed and climb with the help of ropes tied to their feet. Whether from the tops of the trees or from the ground, the Zo’é marksmanship is an invincible adversary for the monkeys. Today, they would have preferred to defy the jaguar instead of the almighty homo sapiens. Sooner or later, the large naked primate is always victorious. The hunters’ sharp arrowheads have torn into the reddish body of these wadivas.
In order to return home without foul odors, and also to keep the gain from spoiling due to the midday heat, it’s wise to remove its entrails and prepare it for the journey. We forget that our freezers are also full of corpses. Others do the slaughtering for us. Everyone learns and everyone teaches here in this open-air school where hunting skills combine with a fine air for cuisine.
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Are we far away from these primitive people carrying wooden blocks in their jaws? Superstitions, astrology, religions, conspiracy theories, entertainment and wars, and simple desire not to learn, not to know and not to understand, and not to change ourselves and our society. I.V.