photo by Witthaya Phonsawat and

photo by Witthaya Phonsawat and

This month Th!nk magazine asked some questions to a lady named Heather Boyd. She went to Brazil on a medical mission trip. Read about some of Heather’s interesting experiences.

Th!nk- Did you get to taste any interesting foods while you were there?
Heather- Yes, while we were on the river, a man killed an animal called Tapir that was like a very tender steak. I had it the last 2 years when we were there and it was different both times, based on how it was cooked. The last 3 years, we have hunted Caiman which are a type of alligator in South America. They tasted like fresh fish with a little chicken taste mixed in. It was soft and flaky like fish. While we were in the city of Manaus on our way to the airport we went to a restaurant. They served lots of meats and among them were chicken hearts and cow tongue. I had eaten cow tongue in the states previously but it was much better in Brazil.
Th!nk- Did you like the food?
Heather- Everything we ate was very good. However, there were not many fresh fruits and vegetables on the river and that was hard for me.
Th!nk- What was your favorite thing that you did?
Heather- The best part of our trip to Brazil was loving on the children. Another highlight was going hunting for caiman. We got in a small boat with 2 of the missionaries who live there. They motored us around in the dark of night and we shone flashlights around the edge of the water. When the lights shone on a caiman, his eyes reflected (like spider hunting). Then the boat went over to it and got very close before you shot. The missionaries grabbed the caiman after he was shot but he’s often not dead. The missionary had to finish killing him with a machete and pull him into the boat. Twice when I’ve been there, the missionary decided the caiman was too small to shoot…but he reached into the water and grabbed him alive. Then we were able to pass the live alligator around the boat and take turns holding him before releasing him into the wild again. That might be one of the most exciting and unusual things I’ve ever done.
Th!nk- What exactly were you there to do?
Heather- We go to Brazil with a group that has 2 purposes. There is a medical team in our group and a VBS team. We go to 14 different villages on the Amazon River. Many times, neighboring villages travel to see us while we’re there so we actually see 2-3 villages at each stop. When we stop, the medical team finds a building to use as a clinic. They give medical treatment and medicine to the people there. While they are doing that, the VBS team finds another building and does songs, a skit, a gospel presentation, a craft, and games with the children and any adults who want to join us.
Th!nk- What was the weather like there?
Heater- Brazil is on the equator so the weather is always hot. It also has a very high humidity. It often rains for short periods and then clears up quickly. However, it rarely thunders and/or lightnings. There is no electricity so there isn’t any air conditioning. You sweat all day every day but everyone else does too so you don’t feel like you look horrible because you’re just normal.
Th!nk- What language did the people there speak?
Heather- They speak Portuguese.
Th!nk- Did you ride in any unique transportation?
Heather- To get where we were going, we drove 8 hours from Tallahassee to Miami and then flew 5 hours from Miami to Manaus, Brazil. Then we rode in a bus for 4 hours to Itacoatiara, Brazil. Finally we got on a boat and went 12 hours down the river. The boats were the only transportation we ever saw once we got on the river. Families didn’t have cars; they went everywhere by foot or by boat. Small boats were little canoes like a tree trunk that was split lengthwise and hollowed out in the center. Larger boats often had 2 levels, usually open to the air (without cabins). We ate and slept on the boat. At night, we hung hammocks from poles on the boat to sleep in. During the day, we rolled up the hammocks and lived in the same space.
Th!nk- How long were you there?
Heather- We were there for 10 days.


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