Six-day Riddle Solved


Though I flew home Monday, I’ve still been flying by the seat of my pants since we arrived.  I am not yet unpacked.  But, there are priorities, after all, so here’s the solution  to the Six-day Riddle (good guesses, by the way):


The photo was taken in Embera Drua, located on the Upper Chagres River in the Panama rainforest.  We reached the village by motorized canoe. 





I was captivated by the accounts of Miguel Flaco, the botanical doctor, who described the medicinal properties of local vegetation.  




In the mystery photo, Miguel shows the scars left by the bite of a venomous Bushmaster snake, the largest pit viper in the world (which reaches a length of from eight to twelve feet).   When asked if I could photograph his scars, he obliged by hastily picking a leaf  to display which type of plant saved his life.  Look how far apart those fang marks are!  




He said that normally a medicine is made from the plant but he was alone when the snake attacked so all he had time to do was pluck leaves and eat them before he passed out from the poison.  (Added: He also noted that the leaf is shaped like a heart…apparently a clue as to its healing properties.)


Needless to say, it was the trip of a lifetime.  I could post dozens of photos, and pages of copy about the amazing adventure, which I took in the summer of 2005.  It was in the Embera village where I had my first taste of Tilapia (fish), prepared by the local women.  Delicious! 



 It is perfectly okay to laugh at this photo.  Everyday in the Panama rainforest was a bad hair day for me.  Never had my tresses experienced such humidity.  Donning the cap was the only way to prevent a mega-fro, which, as you can see, was escaping anyway. 


Okay, enough.  Riddle solved.



8 Responses

  1. there is still another riddle to solve..what in the world were you doing there???? missions trip? vacation to see friends? author’s trip to gather info for a realistic book? other?

    I find that account of the medicine man also interesting. wow..the space of those teeth marks.would NOT want to meet that snake EVER… just think he may have been in area when you were there

  2. It was a missions trip. 400+ teen girls and a few brave teen guys, together with staff from BRIO magazine, Focus on the Family’s (then) publication for teen girls.

    About the snake…I KNOW! Believe me, I thought about that! That’s why I’m a Midwest girl.

  3. I am sitting here with my mouth hanging to the floor! UNREAL…..It sounds like an incredible adventure. I can’t even imagine a snake bite, much less one that big! There are not words!

    Thanks for you kind words on my post! blush, blush 🙂

  4. Wow! You are on the adventure of a lifetime!!


  5. BRIO? Did you write an article for the magazine?

  6. I did not write an article about that particular trip, but I’ve written a few articles for BRIO. My book developed from a couple of those articles. Because of their budget crunch, Focus recently had to discontinue a number of their publications, including BRIO.

  7. These pictures are very nice! I bet you LOVED it! But just so you know, this community is Parara Puru, not Embera Drua.

  8. I just found my way here while looking at snake bites. If what the man told you is true that plant may be more important than people realize. If you have a strong stomach I encourage you to see what a puff viper bite looks like over time. It attacks tissue and almost always leaves horrific scars almost like melted skin, it also commonly results in gangrene and amputations. I’ve never seen a bite like his where “only” those fang scars show up. If he was indeed full on bit by a viper, and used local plants to come to the end result we see here, then this is something truly remarkable. Man I’m glad I live in western Canada. I doubt the Rockies have any poisonous snakes. That’s cool that this was a missions trip!

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