I am glad we did this because it made Jack really happy. He has been particularly unhappy in Colombia, with much more homesickness and grumpiness than on previous trips. Of all of us he is the most disgruntled and foul when we travel, but this time it's like a black cloud. Part of his grief comes from his experience with other kids. In Costa Rica and Peru meeting and playing with kids was the absolute highlight. It was so easy for him to walk it the door of the hotel and find a group of friendly kids eager to invite him to play futbol or tag. Kids went out of their way to try to communicate with him and were nothing short of thrilled to have him around.
Not so this time. But I don't think it's the country I think it's the age. And the culture. I think that by age 12 boys in Latin America are much less interested in connecting and playing with others than they are in developing their machismo. And so far part of nurturing the all powerful machismo is shouting cuss words at jack and flipping him the bird.
"Even the kids at my school don't act like this!" was his reaction. He was shocked and saddened by the treatment he has voiced from other boys his age. So much is his dismay that he has cried and refused to go out. For him, this problem has been the icing on the cake of dislike for Colombia. He also flat out refused to journal, saying he doesn't want to have any memory of this trip.
So we are experiencing some of the ups and downs of a middle school temperament, compounded by being mistreated and physically uncomfortable.
But this is a post of a lovely river trip we took, one that Jack really liked. So let's move on.
We had a great guide who spoke clear and simple Spanish for our benefit. I could translate everything he said to the family, so we learned a lot. This guy, Jose, knew the name of every single plant and animal that we encountered. We saw monkeys, iguanas, and a ton of different bird species.
Kids loved dipping their toes in the warm water. Jose assured us there we no piranhas!
We watched all kinds of people using the river to sustain their lives. This guy is transporting bags of yucca.
Fishing poles jut put from muddy banks with little fish tied on the ends. The pecsadores check them hoping bigger fish will have been caught.
Folks washing clothes at the river side.
He came along to help handle the lines.
Canoes tied up along the banks, carved from a tree trunk.
Viewes of mompos from the river. Definitely a nice trip!