Of Ugliness, Mexicans, and Chicken Hunters (From the Lips of Little Friends)



One day, when the pain from my skin infections was especially high, Isadora commented to her mom, “I wish I had brought my doctor kit to fix Miss Paulette.”

My wanna-be doctor friend.


On another occasion, her pity and compassion levels must have lower than normal because she glanced at my fingers and legs and told me, “You look ugly.”  Lorena exclaimed, “Isadora!” who defended herself to me, “I didn’t say you ARE ugly.  You just LOOK ugly.”  Hahaha.  I’ve never met a three-year-old capable of offending me (their cuteness always surpasses their bluntness or even their violent rage).  Besides, in this case, Isadora was partially correct.  Both my fingers and legs were beyond ugly; they were hideously infected and disgusting.  So I told her that right now, they were ugly, but hopefully they wouldn’t be that way forever.


This story requires translation, but hopefully it will still be funny.

We were sitting around the table eating a bedtime snack, when Isadora, who was peeling her tangerine (MEX-E-RI-CA), suddenly almost dropped it and exclaimed, “My Mexican almost fell!”  (In Portuguese, the word for Mexican is MEX-I-CA-NA, so it’s a reasonable mistake for a three-year-old.  Nonetheless, Juliana and I burst out laughing at the idea of Isadora’s Mexican falling on the floor.

Lorena, who also had no clue what a Mexican is, chimed in, “Speaking of Mexicans, we still haven’t eaten the sugar cane the villagers gave us.”

Mexican – MEX-I-CA-NA

Sugar cane –            CA-NA

So you can see why one word would remind her of the other.

After Juliana and I finally finished laughing, we gave the girls a brief lesson in geography, social studies, and ethnic groups.  Hopefully now they know the difference between Mexicans, tangerines, and sugar cane so they can go through life without getting them confused.

The night the TANGERINE almost fell on the floor, when we didn’t eat sugar cane.
Fun fact: In case you are wondering about our clothes in the pictures above, there were actually 3 days of COLD in the village (last week of April).  How’s that for a nice short winter?  Haha.  There was one Lewis County girl who would have enjoyed another month or so of the lovely cold, actually.  I never imagined I would need to use a blanket, and wear sweatpants and a hoodie to bed, living in the Amazon jungle.  It felt almost like a Christmas present!


One day, when I returned to the house, Lorena was armed with a homemade bow and arrow (made of string and thin sticks, with a pencil stub as an arrow), a determined look on her face.  Apparently she had been hunting butterflies, which was a surprising switch after her endeavors earlier in the week, to catch butterflies and take care of them.

Normally, Lorena is extremely sensitive and compassionate.  She has been known to cry and get upset with her parents for killing “poor tarantulas” which invaded the house.  So it was quite shocking that a couple days could transform butterflies from friends to hunting targets.

Fortunately for the butterflies, Lorena’s aim wasn’t that great.  Tired of constantly missing the targets, she moved on to bigger and better game…the village chickens.

After 15 minutes or so, she reported, with a gleam in her eye, “I almost killed a chicken.”  “Really?” I replied, trying not to laugh at the idea of a pencil stub being that deadly.  “Yes, I hit it and it ran away fast.  I think it was hurt bad,” she boasted.  Living among the Neno, their hunting culture must be rubbing off on this child.  Although later when I asked Lorena where our supper was, she just looked at me and giggled as if that were a crazy question.

The Mighty Hunter, practicing her aim.  Chickens, beware!




8 thoughts on “Of Ugliness, Mexicans, and Chicken Hunters (From the Lips of Little Friends)

  1. Marilyn Shivers

    Very cute story. Guess it wasn’t chicken for supper.
    I will be sharing the improved pictures to the Ladies Group and ask them for continued prayers.


    1. No, the village chickens survived that hunting expedition, even though a couple of them were hit. A big THANK YOU to you and the Ladies Group for your prayers. My left thumb started swelling again yesterday and is now blistering (exactly what it did six weeks ago), so I am praying God will stop the infection or allergy process in its tracks and help the doctor figure out what is causing this. Next appointment is Monday. Hope you and all the ladies are doing well!


    1. They sure are precious! God has blessed me with an amazing family as coworkers…and the cuteness and love of their little girls is an extra special bonus. They bring so much laughter and joy!


  2. Robert Stahl


    It is always good to get these posts. As I read them, I am always excited and admiring of your enthusiasm, energy, dedication and attitude about helping others. You are awesome in you generosity of self.

    At the same time, Paulette, I’m very concerned about your physical health. The neck of the woods where you are, is filled with physical risks, that you body might be ready to handle. I know I must sound like a broken record, but always remember you can only help others if you are strong and healthy, both physically and mentally. I never have a doubt about you mental strength, but the ole body is another thing.

    Be sure to get and stay healthy.

    All the best and you remain in our prayers.

    Love, Pat & Bob 508-226-0477


  3. Gladys Der

    Paulette, I love your stories. They are entertaining and of course are reminders to keep praying for you and your village.
    So happy your skin issues are better. I hope your Dr can get to the root of the problem.


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