It was in the spring of the year in the United States when a devastating earthquake happened in Brazil. There happened to be a tribe of people who lived in a remote area of the rainforest who were trapped by this earthquake. Since this tribe was in such a remote area, they had no contact with the outside world. It was only through the airplanes that flew overhead that saw the damage done by the earthquake. People around the world wanted to help, but since this tribe of people were not trusting of outsiders, who could blame them after the devastation those who wanted to profit from the rainforest had done, it would not be possible for many to go. That was not a problem since most people were giving with their possessions and money, hardly anyone wanted to actually go to the dangerous area and face what could be a frightened and hostile tribe.
A group of twenty-nine individuals in the United States volunteered to give aid to this suffering tribe. They would fly to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, and from there they would take a bus to the edge of the rainforest at Maraba. After that, they would make the trip deep into the rainforest on foot. It would be a dangerous journey for many reasons. The insect, reptile, and animal population could be deadly, and the terrain was even more brutal than usual because of the damage of the earthquake. However, these twenty-nine people were determined to successfully make this journey even if they were mostly strangers and from different walks of life. I will briefly describe each of the volunteers and I will start with me, the student.
I am a (male or female depending which one you are) of the age of twenty-three. I have always classified myself as an intellectual, but many have told me that I should waste so much time in books because of my good looks. I have dark hair, am slim, and a good complexion. I do not think much about my looks. I would rather read and learn. In fact learning is a climactic moment for me. I come from a small town in Montana, but I attend UCLA.
It has been a labor to overcome by background; however, I have done a remarkable job. I volunteered for this pilgrimage to help this tribe, but I am thrilled to get the chance to interact with the species and the vegetation in the rainforest as well as a remote tribe that few outsiders have ever encountered. It will be such a learning experience that I get chills down my spine just thinking about it. This will be an astonishing addition to my resume for graduate school. So when my professor told me about the trip I readily volunteered.
A biology professor with a minor in sociology is the head of this group of volunteers. He is forty-nine and is a man with classic good looks. He is single even though he walked down the aisle twice. Good looks can only take a marriage so far when there is another in the picture. With the Professor it is not another woman, but his work. When his carnal needs make there way to the forefront, he occasionally spends the night with a consenting graduate student or single female professor, but never anything serious. His work comes first in his life. He has traveled extensively into uninhabited places to conduct research of the medicinal qualities of the plant and animal life. He is the leader because of his dedication and knowledge.
This woman in her mid fifties truly has a heart for other people. She sees no further than the feeding, healing, and comforting the people of the tribe. Her face is lightly wrinkled, but her eyes are a clear blue. There is a sadness behind those eyes that scream of tragedy. Her story is not known, but there is obviously one there. She has taken her sadness and turned it into something useful and that is to devote herself to the aid of others. She does it in the name of God, but it could be suspected that she does it to forget. Perhaps it is to erase a memory or pay for what she perceives as a sin.
The Socialite and Secretary/Servant
She is a woman who is not only extremely wealthy, but she was born into the world of the social elite. Her looks are not exactly beautiful. Her hair is platinum blonde and she wears enough jewelry and other accessories that are not conducive to hiking through the rainforest. They are the kind of good looks that money can buy. It is clear before the journey even starts that she will be a hindrance.
The Socialite has never done an honest day’s work in her life and the only exercise she has had was hopping from one club to the next. She has volunteered because her father has not been happy about the latest rumors of her nightly activities and she also loves the media attention that this will bring to her. She has brought her Secretary. That is what she calls this short plump woman in her mid thirties. Her duties are more like one of a servant because she is constantly waiting on the socialite hand and foot
The Televangelist and The Camera Man
This fifty something man is loud and boisterous and his home is in North Carolina There is no denying that he and the Professor will have a power struggle before the journey is over. He is not one to take orders and has one thing on his mind and that is filming the pilgrimage as a religious documentary about himself and his good deeds. He is constantly worried about his appearance even when there is no one around to impress. His hair is the focus of his every waking moment. His loud reverberating voice could cause problems once the group has arrived at the tribal village. The Televangelist is accompanied by his Camera Man who is plain and in his mid forties. There is no personality here. The man has literally become one who only takes commands.
The Mayor and His Wife
The small town Mayor from Virginia is anxious to make a name for himself politically. He is forty-nine, tall, with the hint of a receding hairline of his dark hair. He likes to think of himself as wise, but others take it for aloofness. He knows that he has good ideas about the future of Virginia and the United States, but this is as far as he has gotten politically. This journey could be the turning point in his career and he knows it. He has a chance to not only do something good, but he can prove it to others.
He would no longer be seen as aloof. People would see him as caring and brave. He could not have chosen a more perfect opportunity to boost his political future. The State Representative was stepping down after his term is over next year. The Mayor would be entering the race, and who knows, one day he could be Governor. His wife was not happy to be there at all. Her perfectly teased hair would not hold up in the humidity. She had not been out of a suit except to dress in formal wear for years.
Long naturally curly chestnut hair with a fresh complexion describes the thirty-eight year old artist. Her skin was clear and was sprinkled ever so lightly with freckles that were barely visible across her nose. She was definitely not afraid to be out doors. The professor was interested and she would not mind if an encounter was to happen. She too lived for her craft and being tied down in one place with a man was not what she needed. This experience would not only allow her to help others, but the subject matter for her paintings would be endless. She had brought her camera and two hundred memory cards.
The Factory Worker
Giving back to the world has not been something that this man has spent a great deal of time thinking about. He has gone to work everyday, paid his bills, and worked as much overtime as he could so that he could give his family the life of every other average American. He’s forty years old and has never really accomplished anything except working for the other man. One evening on the eleven o’clock news he saw the story about the earthquake and it hit him like a ton of bricks. He had to go. He had to give something back to the world. He had to make his mark. He called his foreman the next morning and then he volunteered. His wife and three children were still in shock when the average height and build man with thick brown hair waved goodbye.
The CEO of a Billion Dollar Corporation
The forty-five year old CEO was at a crossroad in his life. The last of his two children had left for college and he and his wife had grown apart. He was too old to be young and too young to be old. He found himself not knowing which way to turn. The day before he volunteered for the journey, he found out that his wife was sleeping with a younger man who rented their garage apartment. She had told him that she knew that he was trying to hurt her by going on this trip. She wanted him to know that the extra marital relationship was just physical. To be honest, he really didn’t care. This was the opportunity to make sense of the senselessness of his personal life. He could also think about something besides a corporation that would be ready to replace him the day that he retired.
The Baptist Minister and the Deacon
The heavy set Baptist Minister was ready for the trip. He had been involved with mission work for the last fifteen years. He knew that he was not in the best of health, but at fifty-eight, he wasn’t sure how many more years he had left to spread the gospel in this capacity. He was sure that this would be the perfect opportunity to lead this remote tribe to salvation. He was already aggravated with the Televangelist and his need for attention. He knew that there was a bigger job to do than to make a story about himself and that was adding to the Lord’s kingdom.
The Deacon had come along for two reasons. The first was because he assured the congregation that he would look after the minister who had several health problems. The other was because he loved to work with his hands. After pushing paper behind a desk for his government job, Disaster Relief was a perfect outlet. He had been doing this for the last five years and since he started he had helped with seven disasters.
The Pentecostal Minister
The Pentecostal Minister had practically the same plans as the Baptist Minister. He was in his late twenties and wanted fervently to redeem the souls of the tribe. He had already had an altercation with the Televangelist because he felt that he only wanted publicity for the trip. He also looked at the Nun with favor. He could literally feel that she was concerned for the individual people of the tribe and their well-being. He could not wait to have interaction with the natives.
Living the life of a daredevil was the aim of this wealthy man who had money to burn. He was in his sixty-one, but had the vitality of a thirty year old. He had sailed in hot air balloons, experimental planes, and given away more money to the needy than most people would make in a lifetime. To him this was another adventure. He might not make it home, but the risk was where he found the thrill.
The Architect was interested in actually seeing the rainforest and the terrain. He had some new ideas about building materials that would withstand extreme heat and were sturdy enough to withstand an earthquake. He knew that the people of this tribe had no money, but what a terrific advertisement for his firm if he could convince them to allow them to come and build them all small homes that would withstand almost anything. His recent divorce and the death of his father had left him feeling empty. He was only forty-three, but if his ideas caught on, he could retire early and move to the Florida Keys. He had always wanted to live like Hemingway and with his strong body and salt and pepper hair, he was on his way.
The Doctor and Nurse Practitioner
Both women were in their early thirties. The Doctor had dishwater blonde shoulder length hair while the Nurse Practitioner’s hair was long and auburn. They were content to talk medicine the entire time. They felt that it was their higher calling to save as many lives as possible. The Architect had noticed the curves of the Doctor’s hips as she walked. She had also noticed him and was sure that they would at keep each other from getting lonely and bored. The Nurse Practitioner had her eye on the Mayor. She had caught him watching her as she bent forward to pick up her backpack. She thought that this could prove interesting with his wife along.
She was the best young journalist at the twenty-four hour national news network. Nothing was too dangerous for her. Her viewers could count on finding out every detail when the Journalist was on the job. She had fought hard to prove herself and at twenty-eight, she had made it to the top. Her Asian ancestors would be proud of her if they were alive to see what she had become. Now she had a chance to not only report the news; she was going to be a part of it.
The Senator and Her Dentist Husband
The dental health was something that the Dentist was certain he could help once he made it to the tribe. He could not comprehend a group of people who had not ever gone to the dentist, but had never even heard of one. He certainly had his work cut out for him. It would be worth it when his wife was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Sure it was good publicity for her, but he actually wanted to help. He was fifty-seven years old and had never really given anything back to this world and it was time.
The Senator also wanted to help. Her marriage had been rocky for years, and now she had the opportunity to follow her husband. Her campaign manager was thrilled. He knew that this would ensure another term for her and then she could possibly be appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court which had been her dream since she was nine years old. Now the Dentist wanted to give something back to the world and he had asked her to share in the experience. She knew in her heart that they could give to the tribe, assure her dream, and save her marriage.
He had worked for the best restaurants in the country. Now he found himself volunteering for the adventure of a lifetime. This group of people who wanted to save the tribe would have to eat or they would be no good to anyone. He pushed his black hair out of his face as he thought about the arrogance of the Mayor’s Wife.
She had actually asked him about the menus as if he had his whole staff with him. He was going to provide the basics as well as he could, but this was not the kind of trip where anyone would live luxuriously. Besides he had better things to think about and that was the journalist who could help get his work some really good reviews from the food critics she knew. It didn’t hurt that she was attractive in a sporty kind of way.
The Three Carpenters
Rebuilding toppled houses was the main objective of the three carpenters. They had come together after seeing the news report of the earthquake. They had just finished the last house they had contracted and so they decided that this was the right thing to do. They were from Georgia and had never been outside of the country before. Since they were fishing buddies as well as coworkers, they decided to forego their fishing trip for the chance to actually help some people. They were all in their mid thirties, they had average builds, and all but one of them had a wife and children. The single Carpenter had lost his wife to cancer just three years before the earthquake. He was still grieving and the other two felt that the trip would do him good.
The High School Teacher
The recently divorced thirty year old history Teacher was having second thoughts about coming on the journey. She had to board her dog and the time that she would have to be away from him concerned her. This was her chance to show her students instead of telling them about how to show your love for your fellow man. Her short blonde hair would not be much protection in the rainforest heat, but she was ready to start her new life without her husband by helping others. She was unsure of exactly what to do once she got there, but she knew the Professor would assign her to the task that he thought was best for her.
He had done two tours in the Middle East, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and he had briefly served in Desert Storm. This thirty-seven year old Marine had the training to endure any hardship that he might face. It was times like this that he was glad he was physically strong. He was average height with a muscular build. He had volunteered because he thought it would be nice to help build something back instead of being the one who tore it down. He couldn’t believe that more of his Marine buddies had not been interested in helping with the earthquake survivors.
She always had a look of determination in her deep green eyes. Her Irish roots displayed themselves in the color of her eyes as well as the auburn hair that she wore at shoulder length. This would be the opportunity of a lifetime. She had wanted to join the Peace Corps when she graduated college, but her family would not hear of it. She absolutely needed to get a job so that she could help her family pay the bills. Her father had found work again and now the family was doing fine. This was her chance and she was going to be there for these people in need.