So I'm locking my bedroom door from now on.
I woke up the other morning with Matt sitting cross-legged beside my bed wearing nothing but his rubber boots, staring at me and rocking back and forth. He hasn't been right since we met with Paccha.
Oh right, the meeting with Paccha! So we decided we'd sat around long enough and had better try talking to a new community to see if they'd let us work. We called the president of Paccha, which owns Jambi Machi, the highest of the fortresses. They said they had a meeting Saturday (last Saturday) that we could come to and ask for permission to dig. We arrived to the school where they had the community meeting and the president and some other community leaders, including one who was the president of an association of 3 communities, came out to talk to us. The nice guy that was talking to us most said they're doing lots of conservation up there, planting native plants and so on (eucalyptus trees aren't native, but whatever), so we could take all the pictures we'd like but they don't want us to dig. They said investigations don't need anything more than pictures anyway, right? They were worried that the holes we dig would disrupt the water in the mountain and keep the rain from coming, even though it had been raining regularly for a while. We kept talking with them trying to explain that we're also interested in conserving the site, and that all the holes we dig will be filled in immediately after we're done with them, but they still weren't too keen on the idea. Eventually they said they have a joint meeting of the 3 communities November 7, and if we'd like we could come and give a workshop explaining what we do, how we do it, etc. to try to get the community to understand better. We said that sounded fine. A couple minutes later the folks from inside the meeting called us inside, and Matt said I should wait outside with Milton, our taxi-driver friend. He and Ave went inside, and Milton and I chatted a while. About 15 or 20 minutes later, Matt and Ave came out of the meeting in a rush looking fairly pale and not saying anything except to get in the truck, repeating that a couple times. We left and I later found out they had been threatened with beatings and told to leave immediately before they got started. That was the meeting with Paccha.
So, back to Matt at my bedside. I asked him what he was doing, and he said there were "things" in his room. I asked if he wanted to borrow my machete, but he said he'd rather just stay here with me.
That was Tuesday.
He's gone most nights now... we'll watch a movie and he'll cook dinner first, but then he's gone. We tend to eat a lot of chicken, which wouldn't be so bad if he actually cooked the stuff. I kind of feel like I'm in that episode of Seinfeld where his girlfriend makes mutton and he hides it in napkins... I have a little spot next to me on the bench where I put the pieces of raw chicken I cut up, and when he's gone at night I re-cook them for myself. I don't know how he doesn't have salmonella yet.
yesterday was weird, too. He was gone when I woke up. Didn't come in til this morning, walking in with his clothes all bulky like there was something underneath them and there was mud in his hair. I didn't feel comfortable asking what happened yet so I just said good morning. He grunted, went into his room and shut the door. I'm in the kitchen using the computer, and every now and then I hear shouting and pounding. His phone's on the table next to me, so I figure he's just having a horrible, horrible dream. I would be more concerned, but in light of last Monday...
Oh, the other night I was chased through town by a pack of stray dogs after I went to eat at chicken lady (she actually cooks her chicken). There's this old bearded man who shuffles through Cangahua all day wearing his pancho kicking trash from the sidewalk into the street as he smokes his cigarette... kind of like the old man neighbor in Home Alone. He kind of creeps you out, or else you think he's awesomely ridiculous, and then one day he saves your life. There were six of these dogs chasing me, growling, led by one of the dogs that had been friendly during the summer, so I started running and they ran after, until I saw the old bearded man standing in the street. He waved me past him and then for some reason yelled at the dogs in Portuguese, and they stopped chasing me, looked at each other, and then split up to go to their respective homes. It was weird. I thanked the bearded man but he didn't respond, going back to kicking garbage into the street.
Well, Matt's up now and telling me to write his memoirs as he dictates. I'm calling American Airlines in the morning.