Monday, October 31, 2011 the demons danced upon our roof.

Many times in the jungle one is confronted with the reality of the spirit world. I know that in our modern society many do not believe in witches, demons, angels or even God, but this is not the case with the indian cultures. They know good and evil spirits exist and even interact with us mere humans.

The Ye'kwana culture is replete with myths and lores of the spirit world. Some are based on historical events and what their ancestors observed.

There are spirit beings as lowly as wee folk who play annoying pranks hiding things from you or troubling the hunting dogs, all the way up to "Canaima" who is the embodiment of our "Boogey Man". There is the often seen "wiyu". This is a spirit which comes after someone has died and tries to trick another person into accompanying the dead one. They even have a mermaid! And don't forget the terrible" macuchis"! My children even sang a song about the macuchis to tease each other.

macuchis gonna get you if you start to pout!
The macuchis gonna get you if you don't watch out!

Whatever the case may be, I have seen and experienced things that I often do not share as I fear people will think I have lost my mind. I have seen people who were visited by Canaima appear to be in a trance and die a few days later with mysterious bruises and bleeding. I have been touched by a demon possessed person, only to wake up hours later with the print of their hand burned into my flesh. I have awakened at times with a smothering feeling of heaviness only to find my husband awake and experiencing the same. Talk about a cold chill, to wake up at night and feel as if an elephant is sitting on your chest and the night is so black you can not see your own hand, but you know there is a presence there. At times like these, the only relief comes from calling out to God.

After building our house and finally getting a small generator to replace our Coleman lanterns, we learned of an interesting event that had taken place. We learned of it in a most unusual way.

One night, we were both awoken simultaneously by a strange rustling sound which seemed to surround our house. We arose from our hammocks to investigate and found our house to be totally encircled by indians. More importantly, christian indians!

My husband went out side and asked what was going on. Shyly, they explained that they were watching out for us as they had observed "spirits" dancing upon our palm roof. Then they proceeded to tell us of a story that had unfolded several years before our arrival.

The old witch doctor of the village, Manweda, had snorted the hallucinogenic drug which the witch doctors use to enhance their visions, and after several hours of being in a trance, he awakened to tell the village a prophecy.

In his vision, he said he had seen a strange, strong light glowing out of a building upon the small hill which arose at the edge of the village. No one lived there and it was not even cleared yet, but he said he heard a loud noise which came from the house as well as the light.

As is often the case, the villagers discussed what this could mean and had not a clue. Until we showed up and asked if we might build our house upon that very hill. However, we only used Coleman lanterns and had no generator or loud noises coming form our house for several months.

Until that night!

The whole village, unbeknownst to us, had met to discuss if this was the fulfillment of Manweda's vision. As they ventured out to see, the unbelievers were frightened by what they saw around our house.

Spirits dancing on the roof!

The Christians feared for us and bravely decided to confront the spirits on our behalf, knowing we were not knowledgeable or aware of the great danger we were in, due to the nature of the evil demons and the fact that we were so reckless as to have built our house with HUGE windows in every room. Surely, Canaima would come for us one night!

But this night, the christians surrounded our house and joined in prayer to God for our protection. They were amazed that we could all sleep through the night with the demons dancing above our heads. We finally awoke from hearing their muffled prayers on our behalf.

As we spoke to them, we were told of the prophecy the witch doctor had made of our arrival with the lights and loud noise coming from a non-existent house on this exact spot.

Could God use a witch doctor to foretell of our coming? I don't know, but he has used stranger things...such as Balaam's donkey!

Whatever the reason, the people of Chajudaña had welcomed us unanimously and the new christians were greatly encouraged that we were not bothered by the spirits. Soon they were opening up their houses with larger windows to allow for better light and air flow, no longer so afraid of the spirits!

No longer were they bound in the darkness and superstition that had enslaved them and caused them to live in unhealthy smoke filled, dark houses cowering in fear.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Its my blogaversary!

Five years ago today, in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, I gave birth to a blog!

I had no idea the way it would take me around the world via my readers. I never imagined I would produce something anyone who did not know me would bother reading. I have some long time readers who are now friends in the truest sense, even though we have never met face to face.

Just for fun, if you are a regular reader, tell us how you found out about Jungle Mom and how long you have been reading The Jungle Hut?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I blog

I like to blog for different reasons:

1) I like to learn, I need to learn something new everyday or I feel as if the day was wasted. So when my daughter Jackie called me from Paraguay nearly 5 years ago (I was living in Venezuela at the time) and said, "Mom, I have a blog." I did not like not knowing what one was. I checked her blog out. Loved it, and tried to leave a comment. Next thing I know, rather than a comment, I had  created my OWN blog! Still not sure how that happened!

2) I like to meet new people and I love a good debate. Not an argument, just sharing differences of opinion.

3) I love sharing with family and friends. Mine are spread all over the globe, literally! Through this venue we all participate in each others lives in an active way.

4) I LOVE the Lord. This should probably be first, but half of my readers would have stopped reading at that point. LOL tricked you! I want to share what God has done for me and my family even in difficulties, in hopes of blessing others going through hard times.

5) I like to share the GOOD NEWS with people that might not normally hear it. If I reach someone through this blog, just one, I would be thrilled. So many people are open if we present things in a way they can see and feel that the conviction is of God not from me.

6) I love HEARING from everyone who visits. PLEASE, leave a comment. Even if it is anonymous. Just let me know where you are from or whatever you feel comfortable with sharing. I have some LURKERS out there and I would love to know who you are and how you ended up here at my little blog.

7)I have always enjoyed journaling, this is a way for me to record history, with world and family events to remember later...for myself, my children, and grandchildren.

So this is me , the real Jungle Mom ! I am the mother of four and the grandmother of three,  and a 40++++ yr. old woman just wanting to talk and have a good laugh, mostly at myself!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Malaria Memories

I was recently reminded of the first time I had malaria. We had ran out of all meds, even Tylenol, due to an epidemic of over 80 cases of malaria at one time. We had no radio to call for more and had to wait for the scheduled flight to come out about 5 days later. I ended up being flown to town for medical care. It was discovered that I not only had malaria but strep throat as well. I was never so glad to see a plane land in my life!

When we were newly arrived in the village, I came down with malaria. I had been sick several days, (weeks?) with high fever and pain, followed by some hallucinations. It was hard to know what was really happening around me from the hallucinations. Often times, in the village, the real life happenings were more bazaar than the dreams!!

Imagine having every bone in your body aching like the worse flue you can imagine...X 10!! And no bed, no bathroom, no where to do the laundry but the river, still cooking over a fire, with four small children.

One day, I was feverish and in my hammock in the mud hut we had been loaned to use until we finished building our own mud hut. The doors did not lock, so there was no way to keep people out of the house. I was wiped out and fell into a deep sleep.

I began to wake up as I became aware of something rubbing my arm. As I strained to fight the fatigue and open my eyes, I realized my legs were also being touched. I could hear some low voices nearby speaking a language I did not understand.

As I raised my heavy eyelids, I saw four faces bent down over my hammock, looking me over. They were Sanama Indian woman from the next village. Each had their face painted and were adorned with the sticks they use to beautify themselves. They also had a roll of tobacco placed between their bottom lips and lower teeth. This gives the teeth a green, slimy look and produces a green dribble which they spit out on the floor every few seconds.

As my eyes took in the sight, I screamed!

The four, poor women, jumped! Screamed! Dropped their tobacco and walking sticks...and ran out the door! Screaming all the way through the village as they headed to their canoe!

I must have been just as scary to them as they had been to me. To add insult to injury, all the men in the village came running in to check on why I and the women had screamed, expecting to find a jaguar or something equally dangerous!

NO, just me sitting in my hammock trying to figure out if it was real...or another hallucination!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just keeping in real...

Father God, 

When I cried about missing my life in the jungle and begged for a chance to relive some of those experiences, I did not mean the red mud and no electricity part. 
Your loving, but less than grateful, daughter, Rita Vernoy.

(The one pouting in the dark with red stained feet!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cantando por un Sueño

It was a late night, but it was worth it. Jayde Louisa Vernoy Riffe classified (top two overall) to be able to go and compete in the INTERNATIONAL singing competition in Guarambaré next month!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Things I See...

My youngest daughter singing a solo in her school musical last week. She was great!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

7 years ago...

Seven years ago I was in Costa Rica with Jackie after here cesarean delivery of Elena, everyone was celebrating Columbus Day when EL Comandante changed our lives by making his famous speech on TV telling us all to "pack our bags and leave the jungle".
We managed to stay on for several months until the legal battles became too expensive for us and our plane was impounded and nearly expropriated. By God's grace, Clint managed to get it flown out to Trinidad on Father's Day 2006. Long story!
Here is a poem my youngest daughter wrote at the time. 

"Under my Thatch Roof"
By Jayde Vernoy (2006)

I lay in silence,
Unable to sleep,
We'd move to the city,
so soon each day I'd weep.

President Chavez had said,
Right on TV,
That he didn't want to see in the jungle,
One missionary.

I felt like crying,
when he said those words.
I felt like I was being stabbed,
by a thousand swords.

I loved our home,
I loved it there,
how could Chavez say that?
It just wasnt fair.

So we packed a bunch of things,
some were old,some were new,
but when we boxed it all up,
we could only take a few.

"Plane Day" came,
and we all climbed inside the plane.
I did not like it.
I thought it was insane.

One last look,
At the Indian's lined up,to say goodbye,
It hurt me so much,
I thought I would die.

But here I am now,
One year later,
getting used to a new life
And no longer eating gator.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose

I don't know if any others will remember that common play yard threat which we threw around in my youth. I never expected for it to actually happen to me by someone I love, or that I would perform the same upon another.

But happen it did! My husband and I were receiving our Missionary Medical Intensive training and as it would be, we were often one another's lab partners. We had lab work most of the afternoons and would practice the procedures we had been taught.

It started out lame enough, taking histories, blood pressure and such. Then we began injections and stitches and other procedures.

One morning we were taught how to make our own NG feeding tubes out of IV tubing. OK cool! This procedures is needed to be able to feed patients who are unable to self feed. Or to give meds without an IV. It involves plastic IV tube about a meter long which is placed in the nostril, fed down the throat, carefully avoiding the lungs, and on into the stomach. Then one can begin feeding with a syringe through the tube, directly into the stomach.

It is not that complicated and many parents learn to put them in for their children, but one does need practice and to learn how to avoid the lungs. So...

Yeah, there I was, head tilted back as my loving husband held a long plastic tube which he intended to place 'up my nose'. And I was going to allow him to do so. I began to practice my Lamaze breathing which I remembered from labor! You girls know, pick a focal point, breath slowly ...basically, zone out!

It was not so bad. He did it quickly and correctly as he does most things. He is a quick study and very confident and unafraid to try new things. My husband can do just about anything he sets his mind to. Later, in the jungle, this would be invaluable in our small dispensary. He has delivered over 50 babies, placed many stitches, removed arrows from people, placed feeding tubes, catheters, pulled teeth, done biopsies, and even helped with an amputation.

After he inserted and removed the tube a few times, it was now my turn. I needed to do this as well because I might be alone one day and be required to place a feeding tube in a patient. Or perhaps I would need to place one in my husband, so...

Now he was the one with his head tilted back, great fear in his eyes, as I held the tube and fully intended to place it 'up his nose'. I just wanted to get it over with! Later, in the jungle I did have to do many things, like deliver babies, put in stitches and other medical procedures, I never enjoyed it.

I carefully measured the tubing I would need, cut it off, put in the holes, melt down the sharp edges of the tubing, sterilize, and began to feed the tube up my husbands nostril. He began to gag which is common as one reaches a certain spot. This is helped by having the patient swallow water if able. I offered the water, my husband, pushed my hands aside and continued gagging. Loudly!

Everyone was soon watching us because he was gagging and squirming. So I continued to feed the tube, until...he opened his mouth! The tube was going up the nostril, down the back of his throat and now out of his mouth! Not knowing what else to do, I quickly hauled back on the tube and pulled mightily! It came ripping out. Along with a fair amount of blood and a murderous glare from my husband.

That maneuver became known as the 'Briggs and Stratton' maneuver! You know, how you haul back and pull the rip cord to start a motor? Or lawn mower? It really should not be used to remove an NG tube. The patient would much prefer a calmer removal as there will be less blood involved.

Of course, I still needed to successfully place the NG tube. So we did it again, and again, until it was done properly and I could do it easily. That was not my husband's favorite day of our marriage. Although he had been taught many things in the Marine Corps, Lamaze was not one of them, making it difficult for him to do the 'zoning out' part. All the males seemed to find the procedure much easier to give than to receive.

I am very glad we did learn the procedure as we were able to use it in the jungle for patients who could not eat. I never did need to put another tube up my husbands nose, though, for which I am sure he is most grateful!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

My latest 'I Love Lucy ' moment

 I wanted a dresser! We have not had one since we moved to Paraguay over 3 years ago. I was able to save some money in order to have one built to my specifications and desires. Today, the long awaited arrival of the new dresser came to pass.

BUT... there was a problem. After  much huffing and puffing and grunting and growling  by the men trying to maneuver the dresser into my room, it was determined that it would never fit through the low doorways and the hall. We tried  everything, and I mean everything! Doors were removed, the base of the dresser was removed, bathroom cabinets were removed, but it was not going to happen. THE BEAST was huge! 2 meters long, 1/2 a meter wide and made of solid wood. I was beginning  to think it would never be mine.

Finally, my husband determined it would have to come through the bedroom window. In the states this would not be such a big deal, but, we have bars on our windows. The window had to be removed,  the screens, and then the welded metal bars were cut out. Now the beast could be brought in through the window. Did I mention  the window is 2 meters off of the ground? Did I mention it is heavy? But they did it!
 I am now the proud owner of a beautiful piece of furniture! It will never leave this house, I am sure, unless my husband decides to use it as my casket...

My husband is praying for patience with his ditsy wife...

See! It looks like it was made to fit in this spot!
Oh wait, it was! That is the only place I thought to take measurements of.

This is the window the beast came through, minus the window, of course.

These are the Action Packers our clothes have been stored in since we had no dresser.


The color is actually darker than it appears in this photo.
I gave the carpenter a picture I found online and he  used it as a model .
The one online was smaller (DUH!) and cost over twice as much as I paid.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Must be Monday

Can't seem to find a coffee pot big enough to meet my needs today!