In Venezuela, we lived on the Chajura River which is a tributary of the Erebato. The Erebato is a tributary of the Caura River and the Caura of the Orinoco River.
I had lived in Venezuela for several years and knew of the Erebato River, never once wondering as to the significance or the meaning of it's name. Until I moved into the Ye'kwana village on the Chajura River.
The Chajura River, literally translates as 'the place of bamboo'. This is because it is the only river in the area with a significant amount of bamboo. Bamboo is very important culturally to the Ye'kwana, as they use it to fabricate their horns, which are used in the cultural chanting and dancing. Other villages would travel for days to our region for the sole purpose of acquiring bamboo to be used in this way.
After a time, when my ear was a little more accustomed to the Ye'kwana language, I began to notice that they referred to the 'Erebato River' as the 'Dede Watö River'. I knew the meaning of the two words and could not understand why or how a river would come to be called by such a name.
The word 'Dede' in Ye'kwana is 'Bat'.
The word 'Watö' translates as 'excrement'.
This makes the name of the Erebato River to translate as, 'Bat Poop River'.
Why would a tribe of people choose to name a large river such a thing?
Come back tomorrow to find out!