Yesterday in ISA, I talked to Laise, who’s a sort of white counselor to the Baniwa people. During a “pause cigarete”, she was the one who made things clear to me. The teachers have their own boat (bote) and their own motor to go up the river. Apparently these are two separate things – the boat and the motor – that together will bring life to the voadeira – which is not a boat, you have to remember.
The e-mail I received on Sunday was from Juvêncio, teacher and “liaison officer” from Pamaali. They are having a meeting from may 25th to 27th to celebrate the school 10th anniversary. They are expecting to receive about 800 people (including some VIPs that I’m not supposed to know or talk about), so they made this document with detailed directions to get to the school, a list of what one should take there, and expenditures expectancies.
I made a list of things and budget from this document:
- 500 liters of gasoline (they said the liter costs R$ 3,25, but I saw R$ 3,80 coming from the airport to the city);
- 14 liters of T2 oil (R$ 12 the liter);
- R$ 45 per day for the boatman;
- R$ 20 per day for each of the 2 persons that will help you pass the Tunui waterfall when you go up the river (Father, I just realized I told you this one wrong, I thought it was one person. This doubles our expenses here);
- Around R$ 20 of food per day (and I think you’re supposed to pay the boatman’s food as well);
- 50 liters of diesel to contribute with energy generation once in the school;
- Butane gas to cook;
- Food for the days you’ll spend there;
- R$ 8 per kilo of fish or red meet, if you’re intending to buy (not my case).
Very useful. But not for me, apparently. The boatman will go up the river and wait for you to return, Laise said. It’s possible to pay for all these empty workdays if you’re going to a three day meeting, but not if you’re intending to spend a whole month there. Remember there are also the two waterfall guys. How much would it cost? And to hire a boatman, first you have to have a boat and a motor. If you don’t, you’ll have to rent them first. $$$$
About the food, Laise said they don’t produce much meet, so I shouldn’t expect that there would be enough for their own consumption and for selling. Ok, no problem there, I’m vegetarian. What about fruits and vegetables? Can I buy some? Nope! There are not many either. I must leave São Gabriel with all the food I intend to eat there. As for the butane gas, she doesn’t think the stove is working there, so I’d have to take my own. No, I don’t have one.
The best option here would be to hitch a ride, as I would have with Alfredo, who went up the river on Tuesday. I need to find someone heading upstream either during this week or the next. Is there anyone that needs to go to the school now? No, they said, everybody is already there. Laise is going to check if anyone from the health office is going there by any chance, I could try and hitch a ride with them.
“Oh! There is also João”, the counselor remembered. Who is João? A psychology masters student from Manaus that also needs to go to Pamaali. But she doesn’t know when he’s coming because he’s still waiting for some money from his project’s financial aid to be able to buy his airplane tickets. He’s got some financial aid… Good for him! And he could use the boat and motor of another girl from his work group. Good for us! And he has a stove. I’d better make friends with him! Come to São Gabriel, João, come!
Worst case scenario, if none of these possibilities work, I’ll stay in São Gabriel and study how people use the internet in the ISA telecentre. Since the population here is 85% Indian, I’d still be studying them. But then I’d have to change the whole last part of my mémoire, which was focused on Pamaali. But I’d spend way less money.