again, this time coming from up in the tree. Carlos was waving a machete…and with that
mile, I just couldn’t be mad at him. What was it that made him different than
a 7-year-old in America? Or even my brother who was just one year older?
Carlos apologetically offered me the mango he threw, “
”. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,that’s how long it took
for my lips to start burning. I later found out that the chemical
“urushiol” in ripe mangos has this swelling, itching, and burning effect on your lips. If only I waited 5 more seconds, I could’ve watched Carlos scrape the mango skin on the
bark of the mango tree to get the acid out. Again, as a child, I had to be taken care of by
. I was rushed inside the humble three-room dirt house. All I could do waslisten and obey. I sat on a chair in the small kitchen area. She operated on my mouth withsoap and water and a follow up treatment of honey. When I finally regained sensation inmy mouth I was still in shock. These people would be considered uneducated by anAmerican standard, yet here I was at their mercy
—praying that Carlos’
might beable to deliver me from the torturous inferno upon my lips.Although I was still recovering, it was back to banana time for Carlos and I. Heled me through a forested part of the
that I had never encountered. It was awayfrom the beach, away from all the small dirt houses, away from the volunteers. Weentered a more dense area with dirt that caused my feet to slightly sink in with every step.We traveled further and were now completely surrounded by trees. These banana treeswere unlike anything I had seen in Florida. They had long broad leaves with multipleshort slits on each side, running perpendicular to the length of the leaf. And the way theyoung bananas were arranged was surreal: the perfectly sculpted bunches resembled agreen, tiered wedding cake hanging around the thick trunk.