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Extra resources for Auca on the Cononaco: Indians of the Ecuadorian Rain Forest
The scheduled flight to Villano, Macas, Curaray and Arajuno has al ready been delayed for two days. The passen gers sit on benches waiting: a Quechua nurses her child; her husband, a hunting rifle wrapped up in his lap, sits next to her gazing into space; a dark-skinned girl with big black eyes is playing with a woolly monkey; a missionary in a white cassock and spectacles is asleep, an open book in his hands; and two young bearded Israelis are about to lose patience. At eleven o'clock the weather begins to clear, but there is still no trace of Romero and our plane.
So their motivation is not merely curiosity; it is also the desire to determine just how human their rare visitors from another world are, thus protecting themselves from unpleasant surprises. When they let up on us a bit, Sam becomes the centre of attention. They lay their arms round his shoulders and slap hirn on the back while besieging hirn with questions. He towers over all of them. Their speech is rapid and strikingly nasal. They are all talking at the same time, and Sam hardly has time to reply to one question before the next one is fired at hirn.
Outside the air is cool and the ground damp. A fine veil of mist hangs over the river. The jungle stands placid and sleepy in the twilight of dawn. We enjoy a cup of hot coffee and are at peace with ourselves and the world. Our morning wash provides the Auca with a proper show. The children as weIl as a few of the adults have followed us to the sm all stream and taken up their positions around uso They find everything we do new and 61 interesting, starting with the comic ritual of brushing our teeth.