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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Side Trip to Mato Grosso {AM Trip #18}

10/17/2017 Tuesday

Off to Mato Grosso (not the state)!  It was about 9ish.  Went on motor bike. About 22 km (14miles) and takes 40-50 minutes. Mostly asphalt. Part way there's a road west towards Codajás. Pr. O doesn't think there are many communities in that direction, yet but later we saw several motorcycles going that way. 

The whole area floods with just islands here and there. A large part of the forest along road burned awhile back and the smoke made a lot of people sick. Saw buffalo, castanha do Pará (Brazil nuts), a strange bird nest (white tube), a dugout being made, a toucan, the Coari/Manaus natural gas pipeline, (the city generator station was the nicest I saw, uses natural gas) and Açaí (some with bags over the fruit). 

Açaí is out of season but is the major cash crop. Each tall (25 m,80 ft) skinny little tree is climbed (clumb, clomb - they go up it) at harvest.  The only protection is on hands and feet so they can slide down fast. The show-offs go down head first. Sometimes they move tree to tree without descending. Didn't get a lot of good pics from back of bike.

In Mato Grosso we saw the church. He has a little room in back. It's wood on stilts with a wood floor. The shower drain is just a couple of holes in the floor. I wondered about the PA, because he has a soft hoarse voice that wouldn't carry well. 

He had installed 2 donated A/C's but the electricity to the outlets wasn't connected. Since new red wires entered the wall and old white wires came, out I had some difficulty verifying the wiring. Amazonas is 110v, but the A/C units were 220v. Since he had installed 2 phase I just went phase to phase. One of the breakers couldn't handle both units together. 

We also installed a rural cell phone (more power and external antenna). For lunch we had chicken cooked on a pan w/ a whole in the middle. Wouldn't mind finding one of those. This was the last of some 15 times I had chicken on this trip. I ate so much chicken that when I laughed I cackled. When I went to shave, I saw it wasn't hair, but fine down growing on my neck and my legs . . . well, I already had chicken legs, but  in the street any chickens I saw fled in panic squawking "Here comes the chicken assassin!"  They even accused me of "hen"acide. But I would have sought professional help if I'd laid an egg. (you probably think I've cracked.)

We walked the villa. There was a Southern Baptist church but it closed.  But there are 4 Assembly of God churches for 500 people, the Roman Catholic and his church (Regular Baptist, around 18 people). It's part of Anamã and the bishop is from here, but much closer to Anori and easier, too. 

Saw some fiberglass light posts on the ground. I had first seen them in Barcelos. They are more expensive to manufacture than concrete (wood is outlawed and most have been removed and thrown away), but have the advantages of being easier to transport, longer lasting (no steel to rust) and can be installed by hand as I saw in Mato Grosso. I walked up to one and picked up the butt end. 

We walked through the grass and looked at the lake which connects to Anamã.  There are a couple of communities on the lake that have Assembly of God. While Pr. O was finishing up business, I did the evangelistic magic tricks with some children. More kept showing up and finally 1 adult tried to watch without looking too interested, Adilson. I called for the other adults and when they wouldn't come, I took the kids over there. 

Pastor O was eyeballing the sky worried about rain so we rushed off. We didn't get real wet, but the road did and it got really slick. Cars slide like in snow and motorcycles fall. The gooey mud builds up until it rubs the fenders. Many push. I offer to walk - plead, even - but he insists and we creep along and make it through. 

Back home at the house in Anori, we talk of the British adventurer who was murdered by addicts near here. She was warned it was dangerous, but camped out anyway.  She was first mistaken for a trafficker, then robbed and killed anyway. Perps were caught because they unwittingly turned on SOS messing with her GPS.   Pr. O's 57 year old brother was killed 5 years ago (2012?) on New Year's Eve by a similar group in same area. He had no money, but may have been killed because he recognized someone.

Still few mosquitoes. Little malaria around even in rainy season. Feet are starting to itch. Should be less to write from here on in - I'm heading for the barn. (home)

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