- ON sacred Land -
I had received an invitation from one of my archaeologist frinds to help her out with a new discovery found in the amazon rainforest of a partly standing structure with nepelang markings on its base and inner walls so that she can get permission from the local government to be able to have an organized dig started.
I was only given the directions of how to get to this monument in the amazon but which path to take was not told to me, so i was off to my new and exciting adventure to explore this nepelang monument, as soon as I arrived I made shore of checking my maps and outdoor gear all was ready and set for me to make the long walk to this monument.
About two hours in a came to an unmistakably strange set of trees cut off at the stumps so since it was not going to take me away from my predetermined destination I decided it would not hurt me to walk through and check them out as I passed. But as soon as I placed my first step on the edge of the first tree an arrow shot across me making a deep cut on my right shoulder so I stopped as I realize I had just done something very wrong my passed experiences with ancient civilizations and cultures have thought me to always be careful about disturbing or damaging important monuments. I had no idea what this was all about but was soon about to find out what exactly I had done wrong.
At this point I am in a lot of pain in my right shoulder because of the arrow that hit me, but I still try to reach out my hands up and out to show I have no weapons of any sort but the tribesmen shouted at me in some strange language, and it's at this point that I got a surprising shock,
A man was coming up from underground from under one of the trees and telling me to be calm so I quickly ask him what did I do to cause the tribesmen to shoot arrows at me he explained that I had stepped on sacred ground and it was forbidden for an outsider to be on their land, I quickly apologize for the misunderstanding and I was invited to join them in their underground home, now I was excited not only was I about to experience an amazing way of life but to interact with a totally new tribe of people
As we got inside I was treated for my injury by one of their tribe doctors using some sort of pounded tree bark, it was then I am introduced to the chiefs of the tribe which was the man I met earlier and his brother, they ask me what was my reason for being out in this part of the forest I explained that I am an archaeologist and that I was hoping to explore a nearby ancient monument so they said that they knew of a large structure that was up river and that it's the only large structure along the river and that it may be what I was looking for, and that I just needed to follow the the river and I would eventually get to it. I ask them how is it that they speak English like me then one of them explained to me that "we trade the skins of animals with the outside buyers on the mainland and they would trade spices and oils with our people so the language after a while became popular to us and easy to speak", so I then curiously asked how is it that tribes people lived underground I am told that the trees and the ground is all sacred ancestral land and that "Many years ago outsiders came to the land to get the medicinal tree bark and plants that the land produced we tried to keep them away from desecrating our ancestors land but they still came and again and again trying to cut from the trees, fighting over the land broke out between the two peoples and both sides took losses, so finally we decided to cut off the top of the trees to prevent the outsiders from coming back and ever take any thing from our land again and we decided to dig a set of large underground tunnels in the ground directly under each tree and that is how the tribe survived all these years with out any outside influences" so I was given a brief tour of the tunnels Underground and it was an amazing spectacle They had everything from water and food to separate isolated Chambers for sleeping and even burying the Dead and with small areas for plants and cooking they explained that for bathing they used the river or sometimes they collected rainwater and would clean themselves underground if is that the river became occupied with outsiders, one of them told "we don't hate outsiders we never did but our people and our land is very important to us and to keep us safe we limit our dealings with them" I explained that I understand the value of their reason. I was told that for meat that they hunted in the nearby forests and that is how they got there meat and animal skins for trading. I was allowed to spend time with them until my injury had healed enough for me to take my leave and be on my way , but I was not granted to take any pictures of their lives or location I was happy to accept this because it meant I would be allowed to have knowledge about a people I never knew existed. I was given two unmarried women to tend to my needs for it was against the their tradition for a married woman to take care of a man other than her husband or her father if he no longer has a wife, as time went on for about two days one of the tribeswomen that was tending to me took a liking to me, and as excited and pleased by whole prospect of a beautiful tribeswoman becoming mine, I knew it was probably not allowed, as it was explained to me it was not accepted among them, and was forbidden for someone outside of the tribe to be married to one of their own as this keeps the bloodline pure and the identity of the tribe safe and it brings honour to their ancestors. I respectfully explained that it was never my intention to interfere with their cultural tradition and i thanked them for explaining their way of life to me, as two more days had passed, it was time for me to take my leave of this amazing people as I was about to be on my way I was given medicinal tree barks and plant roots and told how to use it if and when needed . I said my goodbyes and headed out because I still needed to get to the nepelang monument up river after all that was the reason for my trip to the amazon forest in the first place so I left the tribespeople and begun my long walk once more.