While living in the jungle we found it very difficult to keep dry. Perspiration is a constant problem. You are living in a steam room. Without electricity, there are no fans or AC to keep you cool. My husband found it necessary to change his shirt several times a day to try and keep dry. Since I had to do all my laundry by hand in the river at the time, I was always looking for a new super-duper antiperspirant to try.
I ordered a "deodorant stone" from a health magazine. We had to wait a few months for it to finally get to us in the jungle. On the flight day, the Missionary Aviation plane arrived with our supplies and mail. Flight day was always exciting! Not just for us but for the entire village. It was a window to the outside world.
We had not made the new airstrip in the village yet, so we had to canoe up river to the airstrip to meet the plane. The indians were always glad to help us carry our stuff down to the canoe and then back up to the house. We always shared goodies with them. And then they would sit and watch as we put our supplies away. This way, they knew what we had and what they could ask for!
On this flight day, a group of men were sitting and chatting as I went through the mail bag. I was so excited to see the order had arrived with the deodorant stone!
I pulled it out. It came in a small velvet pouch with a drawstring. I pulled out the stone. It is essentially a compressed deodorant that you use as a soap. Very little goes a long way. It looks like an egg size crystal stone.
I pulled the pouch out and began to pull the stone itself out. I noticed the men on the bench became very antsy. One man asked, loudly, "What is that?".
Ok, how do you explain deodorant to an indian from the Amazon? I tried explaining it was a soap, but the men were already wearing terrified looks and had begun to leave ...QUICKLY!
I didn't know what I had done to run them off. I kept on unpacking, but had left the stone lying on the table. Shortly after, one of the men returned, timidly. He asked me to hide the stone. I could see his fear was real so I took the stone to another room.
He was so relieved. He began to explain to me why everyone had run away. And then he wanted to know where I had gotten the stone.
The Ye'kwanas have a legend of a "death stone". The witch doctors travel to a certain mountain where there is a type of crystal which they believe has special powers. It is called the death stone. The witch doctors have to keep it under wraps, because of its power. The witch doctor will keep it in a small pouch.
You use the stone ONLY for killing your enemies. To use the stone, you pull it out of its covering and point it at those you wish to die.
Well, I had inadvertently tried to kill off half the male population that morning by showing them my deodorant stone!
I ended up having to meet with the men and explain my stupidity and swear I had no intentions of harming anyone! Very humbling experience for me and frightening for them, I am sure. Later on we could all have a good laugh about it and I count these men as my friends.
So, a little known fact about me...I almost massacred an entire village!! Single handedly!!
Scary aren't I?
You should be afraid! Be VERY afraid!