Village Caña Blanca

From one of the canoes that go by frequently we got a description for the way to the village: ‘Go always straight ahead, when the river forks go up the right branch, then you’ll see a puerto–you can’t miss it. Walk up the way, it’s a big village. Es muy cerquito (very near).’ Well, it took us three attempts to find the right branch of the river (little rivers flow into the bigger river every few metres, it’s hard to tell which one’s the main branch and then you end up in a mangrove maze), the ‘puerto’ turned out to be a canoe landing with a pompous stair leading up the shore (a big blue sign announces that it was sponsored by the government to develop the region) that leads to a wide deforested space (also a developmental aid from the government) and a wide dirt road (built just two months ago). After this first impression we were already a bit sceptical, but when we reached the ‘big’ village, it turned out to be 13 tidy, flower-decorated huts on stilts with thatched roofs, smiling indios lying in hammocks on their balconies, waving regally down on the visitors. The people live high up on platforms, chicken, dogs and pigs underneath. Soon we were followed by most of the village dogs (I had brought catfood Leeloo refused to eat) and all of the village children (even though we didn’t have any kidfood with us ;-) ). We walked by all the houses, chatted with many people, exchanged some T-Shirts and cooking pots for veggies. One man showed us his two horses and explained that they’re used to carry produce from the gardens to the village. He proudly told us that Cana Blanca lacked nothing: lots of fruit and veggies grow in the gardens, the river’s full of fish–what else would you need? This morning I got up at 5.30 because the wind was suddenly gusting up and I wanted to check our position in the river. Wind and current turn us around all the time, there are some sand banks near us, so better be safe than sorry. It was still completely dark, but while I was checking the situation, dawn started lighting up the sky, the chorus of cicadas was interrupted by the first chirps and squeaks of birds greeting the morning. By 6 o’clock it was already light enough to wake the howler monkeys who are usually slugabeds, or rather sluganests. One group started with their characteristic barking shouts, and soon many others answered from all directions. A magic experience.

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