Nor can officials force them to go back. So the town and the government are providing them food and clothing in a forest clearing called Aguabonita outside San José.It would be fascinating if they were rejecting the life their people have lived forever, but that does not seem to be the case:
"We can't say, 'You're a Nukak, go back to the bush,' " said Ramón Rodríguez, who is overseeing assistance efforts from the central government's emergency aid organization, Social Action.
The newly arrived Nukak do not provide much detail about why they left. They just say that "the Green Nukak," a possible reference to Marxist guerrillas, who wear camouflage, told them to leave.Meanwhile, they say they feel happy.
"The Green Nukak said we could not keep walking in the jungle, or else there would be problems," explained Va-di, another Nukak man, whose words were translated from Nukak by Belisario. "The Green Nukak told us to go where it is safe."
Used to long marches in search of food, they are amazed that strangers would bring them sustenance — free.Modern life seems good, but the comparison is to traditional life threatened by the Green Nukak. And there aren't enough monkeys:
What do they like most? "Pots, pants, shoes, caps," said Mau-ro, a young man who went to a shelter to speak to two visitors.
Ma-be added, "Rice, sugar, oil, flour." Others said they loved skillets. Also high on the list were eggs and onions, matches and soap and certain other of life's necessities.
"I like the women very much," Pia-pe said, to raucous laughs.
The men still go into the jungle, searching for monkeys... Monkeys are grilled, dismembered and boiled, then eaten piece by piece.You can't get over that taste for monkeys.