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Last Days
by Kelsey

Sept 2, 2009

Oh god. My last days are finally here. I can’t believe it. In some ways it feels like I’ve been here forever and in other ways it seems the time has passed in the blink of an eye. I’m getting more comfortable with the Machiguenga language and trying to speak it as much as possible. The Machis have noticed because they are speaking to me more in Machiguenga. We’ve been doing a lot of work these days. Miguel, Samuel, and Fabian just returned from Maizal on a mission to collect a bunch of leaves to repair the front awning. With them they brought a new Machi, Nicanor. He is really cool and we pal around a lot. He always cracks up when I say stuff in Machiguenga. While repairing the awning they taught me how to weave the roofs. It’s a really simple design but it holds up against the hardest rains. I was excited to learn that. I have realized that I have a few nicknames now too. When we joke with each other, the Machis call me “Keshui.” When we play soccer they shorten it to “Ketti,” and every now and then they call me “tyapiniaki,” which means “where did you find that” or “where are you” (I think). I don’t really understand that one but I’m cool with it. I’ve been working to finish up the signs to mark the trails in the camp, mostly to mark where the rooms and bathrooms are. I painted both the English words and the Machiguenga words for house (pankotsi) and barthroom (noshita) on the signs to help teach tourists a bit of Machiguenga. One by one, I’ve been saying goodbye to the guides and motorists who come through with groups. I’ve seen many of them multiple times and am sad to leave them too. There are some great people out here in the rainforest. All in all, I’ve had no problems here at Casa Machi. I wear shorts and a t-shirt every day and barely get bit by mosquitos. I got food sickness once but it was my fault because I ate celery that I didn’t properly wash. I’ve only seen two snakes and neither of them bit me. All is good....

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