Posted by Rob & Lauren on February 15, 2010
One of the tribes nearby Iquitos is the Yagua. They were known throughout the Amazon both for their use of a blowgun as a hunting weapon, as well as their distinct manner of dress. On our jungle tour we were taken to meet with some of them. Nowadays they dress in Western clothing, but wore their traditional clothes to give us a sense of their history. I hear that further into the jungle there are still Yagua tribes who wear these clothes day to day.
They decorate their faces with dye from a plant they find in the jungle. The different markings designate rank and marital status. The dye also acts as a natural mosquito repellent, which is incredibly useful out there!
As you can see on this little guy, they wear grass skirts, and dye them with that same plant to protect them again mosquitos.
This is Roberto, the chief of the tribe. He had a really wonderful face.
As I mentioned, they were well known for using a blowgun. They gave us a demonstration and it was awesome! Here you can see the quiver they use.
And the darts themselves. They are made of wood, and have a small bit of natural cotton to help balance them. When hunting they would put poison, often from poisonous frogs, onto the tip. With a small notch cut around the tip, they would ensure that if the animal tried to remove the dart, the top would break off and the poison would remain. This poison would often not kill the animal, but rather paralyze it for a few minutes while the hunter caught up to it. So even with a direct hit there was still a lot of quick work to do!
They would sharpen the darts with the teeth of a piranha! You can actually see little bits of wood flying through the air. Those teeth are seriously sharp!
I loved their faces, and found them so fascinating. It was almost a mix of Peruvian and Chinese.
Watching them use the blowgun was so impressive. They all hit the bullseye with no problems.
Those darts were totally stuck in there, and took a lot of effort to get out!
We got a chance to try our hand at the blowgun. Rob hit the target!
And so did I! It was actually pretty easy, and most people in our group hit it. It was really fun to try, and we kinda wished we could bring one back to Canada to play with!
We were treated to a dance demonstration.
And had our faces painted with the dye, according to our marital status. It was pretty cool for Rob and I to say “married” (for almost 5 months now!)
One of my favorite parts of visiting the Yagua was getting to see the little glimpses of real life in the midst of a performance for tourists. We weren’t in their village, but rather just a small gathering of huts that seemed just to hold their handicrafts and do the demonstration, so this was far from an authentic look at their lives. But as I was looking around as we were having our blowgun demonstration I saw a couple chatting and snuggling and smiling at each other. I watched them for a little bit and really loved getting to see that little bit of interaction.
And a few shots of these gorgeous kids.
This might be our last post from Peru, as we fly back to Lima tomorrow for a couple days before our flight home. We aren’t sure if we’ll get to an internet place in that time, so you might have to wait a couple days to hear from us! But we have much more content to post when we get home (including all the HD video we took, and Rob’s film work!). So worry not, my friends, as there is much more adventure coming your way!