By Sarah Woods
Whilst author and intrepid visitor Sarah Woods set approximately learning the jungles of important and South the USA, her quest took her into one of the most distant tangles of vine-knotted jungles on the earth. In Panama's rain-soaked Chiriquí highlands, she navigated likely impassable trails with a machete to arrive quetzals with resplendent jewel-tone plumage.
Sarah sought the local knowledge of the indigenous Embera, deep within the Darien Jungle, with a purpose to come across the world's biggest and strongest birds of prey-the elusive harpy eagle. utilizing razor-sharp talons to seek and kill sloths and monkeys with lethal precision, those giant, winged dinosaurs cover a lesser-known, softer aspect: devoting nice care to elevating their younger for the 1st years in their lives. Seldom noticeable within the wild, Sarah struggled to demystify the fear-riddled legends and superstitions that earned the harpy eagle its identify from early explorers.
Her voyage taught her a lot concerning the wealthy glories and enthralling spectacle of the flora and fauna and in addition its demanding situations and hazards. She met the albino “moon children” of Kuna Yala, swam within the Panama Canal, encountered left-wing guerrillas on the center of Colombia's five-decade clash, and witnessed Amazonian ideals and customs surrounding shape-shifting and the jungle afterlife. Sarah survived landslides, crash landings, vast floods, and tradition clashes in mysterious untrodden lands, studying a lot approximately elements of herself from the magnificent natural world and tribal peoples she encountered-arguably her greatest trip.
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Additional info for On a Wing and a Prayer: A Journey of Self-discovery on the Trail of Central American Wildlife
The standards used to evaluate me are anything i've got 0 effect over. i'm what i'm, or a minimum of what i'm thought of to be. Am I pal or foe? Any smidgen of suspicion that i'm something except the previous and that i can be forged out, unceremoniously and with no courtesy. Clearing my throat or rubbing my sun-sore eyes might alert tribal humans to the risks of contagious infections, international parasites and alien micro organism. red dermis, in particular that reddened via the warmth, may well recommend a poor disease. Even my contact, the strange softness of fats, clammy Western fingers, can be a risky transmitter of significant ills. In years passed by, access to the Kuna group was once denied to a scientist with razor rash for worry of a contagion. My freckled complexion might now not go the attempt. Intruders are alarming and barely to be depended on. That’s what the panic of suspicion tells the tribe. a robust feel of dread can secrete from anxiousness, like fraying cord prior to an influence outage. Terror can unfold all through a tribe at machine-gun velocity, effervescent up in an explosion of hostility inside mins. it really is horrified, trembling worry, now not spite or hatred, which may reason a group to soak up fingers in unified competition. the folk are scared past trust. So i'm continually able to be greeted by means of a crowd of fellows armed with sharpened spears. ready to be chased away via offended, axe-wielding warriors; accepting that i could be spat at and informed by no means to come. but i'm additionally involved that i may be shot at, or killed, even. worry of outsiders, and the loss of life and affliction they convey, creates a truly genuine hazard, one who i'm aware of as I technique the thatch-topped huts of the Wounaan village. The Wounaan position nice emphasis at the air of mystery, believing that it offers a visible narrative at the earlier, current and destiny lifetime of the bearer. Auras are thoroughly invisible to us, yet they seem to be a tangible presence to many indigenous peoples, who normally see them as colors, figures and sometimes sounds. keeping themselves from individuals with damaging energies is simply as very important as retaining warriors with guns from getting into their village. one of many purposes they don’t invite viewers in is the aptitude worry of an outsider’s reversed charisma, which sucks all it wishes from others and leaves them weakened. The houses of my charisma, and the way they experience it, are all very important. If i glance fallacious, or have the incorrect colors round me, I won’t make it previous the doorway. My eyes, or fairly shadows inside of them, may display the darkish secrets and techniques of my soul. The strength I hold – invisible to me yet glaring to them – may well make certain the hidden natural instincts of a perilous internal psyche. fortunately, mine is taken into account a favorable, luck-bringing mild. My charisma hangs like a stunning haze throughout me, red with tricks of gold and purple. i do know this simply because the various ladies inform me later. it appears, the colors recommend a distinct reference to God. The air of mystery is so robust, they comment, that everybody round me can truly consider it. I want I had their eyes to determine it too.