Sunday, May 25, 2014

They Can Only Count Up to Two and Think Running Cars are Attack Animals

By Maureen Callahan

When David Good was a kid, and his friends asked where his mother was, he’d always say the same thing: She died in a car crash.

Kenneth, youngest daughter Vanessa, Yarami and David in Philadelphia.

“I experimented with responses, and I found that the most effective,” David says. “I could see the horror in their faces” — he laughs — “and there would be no more questions.”

His dad, Ken, couldn’t understand: “I’d say, ‘Why don’t you just say your mom’s Venezuelan, and your parents are divorced? It’s so common.’ ”

But the story of David’s mom — who she was, where she came from and why she left — was so complicated and painful, he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it.

“I didn’t want my friends to know that my mom’s a naked jungle woman eating tarantulas,” he says today. “I didn’t want to be known as a half-breed. And it was my revenge; I was angry that she left me. So I just wanted to stick with the story that she was dead.”

David’s mother, Yarima, is a member of the Yanomami tribe of Venezuela. She was born and raised in the jungle, in a remote village that rarely, if ever, encounters any outsiders, let alone Westerners. Her age is unknown, because the Yanomami count only up to 2; anything more than that is called “many.” They have no electricity, no plumbing, no paved roads, no written language, no markets or currency, no medicine.

They also have no word for “love.”

Read the rest here.

1 comment: