Hey everyone :)
So quite a few things have happened since the last time we wrote.
First of all, we went back to Maripasoula. We have really for serious almost started for real this time. Becca actually worked about ten of her twelve hours this week. We had a meeting with someone for the other two, so she wasn't able to go to class. Cody, on the other hand, only worked for about five hours. He has finally figured out with who and at what times he is working at the middle school of Maripasoula, but things for Papaichton are still a little foggy. First of all, we have been told all along that he will get reimboursed for the forty+ euros a week that he has to spend to get to papaichton. Finally someone took things into his own hands (that's what the meeting was about that made Becca miss some of her classes) and he will know within a week, hopefully, if he will be getting the money to be able to go to Papaichton.
In the meantime, Cody took things a little into his own hands and walked to Papaichton one day to work. He left at about 7 in the morning and started walking down the trail to Papaichton from Maripasoula. It's a 35 km trail, or about 22 miles. There are cars that go down the trail, so he didn't have to walk the whole way, but he did end up walking around 9 miles of it, and it took him about 4 and a half hours. During the walk, though, he saw some awesome things. There were flowers that were completely black, views that overlooked... well... nothing but rainforest, two parrots flying together like you see in the movies, a black bird with a really pretty song and a crest of red feathers on the top of its head that looked kinda like a rooster's, an ant that was about an inch long, and he heard so many noises it sounded pretty much exactly like the sound tracks of the rainforest on those cds that relax you.
We've been here for a little over a month now, and so we can start to make some real friends. Right now, for example, we're at another teacher's house using his internet and computer. We spend less of our day inside, which is good because our tv (that only had one channel to begin with) hasn't worked for about three weeks now.
We are also making friends with nature here. There isn't a day that goes by when we don't eat a good number of things that we find or are given. Bananas, star fruit, mini cherries, coconuts, greens, a multitude of fruits that don't exist in the states, and all the bugs that inevitably inhabit them. Becca's been a trooper, dealing with the limited ability to go outside due to the mosquitoes, having to close all the doors in the house last night because of the bat, dealing with the red ants that burn when they sting and the black ants that have pinchers so big they actually draw blood, etc. But the birds are beautiful, the lizards are really colorful (and sometimes huge), and we've actually seen a real live wild monkey.
Other than that, we're just kinda settling in to the routine. We are learning the langauge as well as the history. The history has apparently changed as of 50 years ago, because nothing really resembles what the books say the culture is like. It's sad to say, but most of it has changed for the worst. They do have internet since last year, but they also are given money for having babies which makes it the number one job of any girl over 13, the dancing and drumming has been reduced to clubs at the school, and it is no longer a culture that is in tune with nature and doesn't waste anything. So there are still vestiges of what used to be an awesome culture, but for the most part school and governmental funding has pretty much ruined it :( I say school because they get the same schooling as a French kid in Paris, which means it is not at all tailored to the culture here. School goes until about 5 at night so they no longer learn how to build their pirogues (boats) or learn their oral history or anything like that. To compound it, in order to go to high school all of the kids have to leave and go to one of the larger cities in French Guyana because there is no high school here, which also changes their culture. But, the people are still cool and really friendly, so it definitely has its positives.
We are missing you all. We are really gonna miss you for Thanksgiving, but we fully expect to be represented in all of your family gatherings by a ball with a picture of our faces on it. I feel a contest coming on for the best picture of this happening. Also, speaking of photos, this site/internet/country doesn't seem to want to let us upload pictures, so facebook will have to do for now.
Wishing you all the best, and look forward to hearing from you as well!