"Kitsch," he said.
LOOKING SURPRISINGLY chipper, Guillermo turned up in the morning and began whanging on an old piece of outboard with a length of pipe. If this was the church, then that, we supposed, was the bell. There was instant coffee, fried plantain, and more piranha. Guillermo popped open a Colônia and waited.
An hour later, the only people assembled were Volker and me. Guillermo pounded on the metal again in frustration. Grudgingly, the rest of Combate joined us. Guillermo and Volker made small talk in Spanish as the others gathered. Why was the village called Combate? No one could remember, Guillermo said. Some trouble with another tribe.
I was the first person Guillermo had met from the States. He was stunned to learn that coca was illegal there. Volker asked Guillermo if any of the children were his.
"Actually, I have 21 children," he replied.
"Wow, the Church must have told you to go forth and multiply," Volker said.
"No, they tell us we should have only two or three."
"Then what happened?"