The jungle held many new and exciting and "interesting" experiences for Billy. It took 2 days of driving to get into the place where these disciples were training. The first day was mostly on paved road, but the second day was completely dirt/rock/holes/boulders.
In the jungle, it is not uncommon to have a scarlet macaw spend the morning yelling at you while you are trying to lead a meeting. Nor is it uncommon for bats to fly in and circle your head while you are having a prayer service - and we're not talking little tiny Mexican freetail bats... these are giant jungle bats! There is a village "pet" named Lucha... she is a tapir who walks the streets and enters any open store that catches her fancy for a treat - she likes bananas. It is interesting to buy a soft drink while standing next to a tapir at the counter!
Food was "different". Lots of yucca and rice! One day they ate sopa de platanos (green banana soup) with fish parts. Another day was a fish broth soup, in which Billy received the fish head. The type of fish they were serving that day was what we know as a sucker fish - you know the sucker mouth fish that clean the sides of aquariums? Well they come from the jungle and they are huge and they suck/filter the mud at the bottom of the river. So Billy received the head, which was a complement to him because it is "the good part" they told him. He picked off what little meat there was on the head and called it a day, but was informed that he left all of the good stuff - the sucker lips and the eyes are the most important part. Not wanting to offend anyone, he did the gracious missionary thing and ate "the good parts", much to the delight of the others at the table. "How to win friends and Influence people, by Billy Drum!" In doing this feat, he made fast friends of several people, who then convinced the cook to make him a special type of tamale for lunch (yes, the fish head soup was breakfast). The tamale was in the shape of a giant hershey's kiss, wrapped in a banana leaf. It was filled with chicken, rice, corn, and a hard boiled egg. He said it was delicious!!! All in all, he says that the food wasn't terrible and he didn't die or bring home any internal parasites, so all is well. Plus, he made great friends over the dinner table.
This bug landed on the table one night and Billy grabbed it to check it out, much to the horror of all of the other people at the table. "It will kill you! It's venomous!" But Billy knew better... it is really a relative of our Texas cicada. It mimics several other things - from the side, it mimics a lizard or baby crocodile; when it flies, it looks like a butterfly; and when it lands and opens it's wings really big, it looks like an owl's face. In reality, it doesn't even have a true mouth - it has a proboscis that sucks the juice out of plants, like a butterfly's tongue. He and I have both had a great time teaching others the truth about this "deadly insect".
Billy can't wait to return, and he can't wait to take us with him. He now has new friends. One friend wants the whole family to come and he will meet us with his boat and take us to his house (3 hours upriver deeper into the jungle) to spend several days with his family. I'm sure we will do it - maybe next year after the rainy season passes.