After our meetings with the artisans in Puca Urquillo, we had a peaceful and productive evening in Pebas. It was quiet in Pebas for the first time in weeks after relentless loud campaign parties. Alcohol was banned leading up to Election Day and soldiers were mobilized to keep the peace.
Yully and Marianela sorted and classified crafts we had recently bought. Pablo worked on his woven birds, Doilith worked on her woven butterflies, and I edited photos while listening to the TV in the background with actors on CSI Miami speaking in dramatic dubbed Spanish.
We had another chicken dinner at the same restaurant secure in our plan to get some rest before heading to the port for our midnight rendez vous with the Ferry heading back to Iquitos.
We got a rude shock when we got to the port. The little boat taking passengers up to river mouth had come and gone because the Ferry had already passed by an hour and a half before. Passengers who had bought their tickets in Pebas had been informed about the earlier departure, but working from our cloistered hotel with tickets bought in Iquitos had kept us out of the loop.
Our next blow came when we trudged back to our hotel and were told our rooms were already promised to incoming guests. I experienced some minutes of American entitlement and pondered what might happen if I refused to vacate my room. The manager then said we could all stay in the room with four beds until 6 am for another 100 soles. I thought about it, but Yully was too incensed to consider it.
We took all of our bags back to the port with hope that a lancha bound for Iquitos might pass by in the night or morning. So we hung out and tried to sleep on the benches and floor until 5 am. A small rapido that had been chartered to bring a family to Pebas for a funeral was about to return empty to Iquitos. So our weary five person group climbed aboard and crashed for the express trip back to the city. We were lucky because the next lancha didn't come until 7 pm that night.
"While concepts like punctuality, mutual respect, no put downs of self or others, and listening when someone else is speaking may seem like obvious guidelines to form a positive community, a commitment to actually practice and hold each other accountable to observe these agreements is profound in a culture where showing up late, malicious gossip, and interrupting a speaker are painfully common."
"Artisan facilitators should of course share what they know, but beginning and experienced artisans all benefit by remaining humble, enthusiastic about learning, and committed to encourage and affirm their fellow artisans. So many artisans said that the thing they most wanted to bring back to their communities was this spirit of working in a mutually supportive environment."
"Both men and women wore garb made with bleached llanchama tree bark painted with graphic figures from Bora clans. Several wore headdresses made with the feathers from macaws and parrots. They discussed the importance of nature and craft-making in their culture and then launched into a lively dance where the men chanted and pounded sticks into the ground to the rhythm of moving around in a circle. Visitors joined the undulating lines to share the vibrant energy."