Welcome to my village in the world’s largest rainforest! My people have nicknames that match our unique features. You can call me “Watching Eyes.”
We construct our own homes from leaves, tree branches, and vines from the nearby jungle. My family’s hut is connected to all the others, forming a large donut-shaped structure called a shabono (shah-buh-noh). Our homes open onto a large central area used for celebrating feasts, playing games, and performing ceremonies. Outside our hut is a special area where Mom and my sisters prepare food and cook over a fire. This same fire keeps us warm at night as we sleep in our hammocks.
This morning, I saw Father and some men heading into the jungle armed with spears, bows, and arrows. Their hunting party will search for monkeys, wild pigs, or birds. Maybe we will have meat for dinner. Mother and the other women are collecting firewood and fetching water from a nearby stream. My sisters tend the garden where we grow plantains and cassava. Plantains look like bananas and cassava roots look like potatoes. When it gets hot, my sisters head for a shady area where the older women are teaching them to weave baskets from tree bark and vines. They will dye the baskets with red berry juice and use charcoal to add designs.
My friends and I grab our bows and arrows and head for a clearing. Our fathers made us special blunt-tipped arrows so we don’t get hurt. One day we will hunt with the men, but for now we practice our aim and learn how to dodge arrows shot towards us. We also look for animal footprints because tracking is an important part of hunting. As the sun begins to set, we head for home. We don’t like being in the jungle after dark because we’re afraid of spirits living in the trees, plants, and animals. We believe these spirits have the power to harm or help us. I’m glad to see the light of the cook fires and smell the aroma of meat.
Set up a tent in your backyard or house OR go an overnight camping trip with your family. Cook your dinner on a grill or over a fire. When it gets dark, tell stories or sing songs. No electronic games allowed! Think about the village where Watching Eyes lives. What would it be like for your family to live in a one-room hut without electricity or running water? How would you get food if there were no stores? How would you entertain yourselves without TV, computers, video games, or cell phones?
- Pray that God will free the Yanomamo from the fear of spirits that grips them and replace their fear with hope.
- Pray that the Yanomamo people, who live so close to God’s creation in the rainforest, will come to know God as both Creator and Savior.