They call her Ñata ("little pointed nose") and they think she is six because she can touch her right ear with her left hand, from behind her head. This, apparently a common diagnostic tool for age... in the jungle. (I don't think i'm a believer.) She is one of two; her brother is probably seven. From their former home somewhere around the river 'hub' of Borbon, their mother wished to give them away, but their father did not agree at the time. Some months ago he brought them up-river 3 hours, and deposited them on the wooden doorstep of his aged grandmother in the little village of Santo Domingo de Onzole. He, according to community members, rarely visits and passes much of his time drunk, or working the land further up-river. Ñata and her brother Alex have since shared a roof with their great-grandmother who, due to undiagnosed pain, has lost the ability to walk and due to advanced catarachs, also cannot see. This dear woman passes the day away, observing what she can, only a cloudy view from her crickety porch, and smoking fresh tobaaco in her pipe. An aleged cousin of the father is supposed to deliver meals to the three of them from around the corner, however both Alex and Ñata's hair has discolored and their bellies extended providing evidence of mal-nutrition, parasites and/or worms etc.
I met this little wonder as she screamed/cried in my face that the boys had taken her balloon. She was SO very loud. Really it was just a piece of what was once an inflated balloon, that made her so upset that first day of camp. The kids who have grown up in Sto Domingo, have gotten to know her and Alex since they arrived. They pick on them. They bug Ñata and bully her because she is great at entertaining them with her reactions: huge wails, flailing fists, a mouthfull of abscenities...you name it. They notice that she and her brother wear ratty clothes, are not very clean...and spend all day outside playing while others are tucked away inside for a bath and siesta, and to do their homework. Neither of the two can go to school because both are without a birth certificate...unregistered. Dear little Ñata doesn't even have a name.