Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 204
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 204
 
Arizona and Sonora, and along the Guaso Nyiro north and west of Mount Kenia, when the barren mountains were changed into flaming “ramparts of slaughter and peril” standing above “the wine-dark flats below.”
  It rained during most of the day after our arrival at Utiarity. Whenever there was any let-up the men promptly came forth from their houses and played head-ball with the utmost vigor; and we would listen to their shrill undulating cries of applause and triumph until we also grew interested and strolled over to look on. They are more infatuated with the game than an American boy is with baseball or football. It is an extraordinary thing that this strange and exciting game should be played by, and only by, one little tribe of Indians in what is almost the very centre of South America. If any traveller or ethnologist knows of a tribe elsewhere that plays a similar game, I wish he would let me know. To play it demands great activity, vigor, skill, and endurance. Looking at the strong, supple bodies of the players, and at the number of children roundabout, it seemed as if the tribe must be in vigorous health; yet the Pareís have decreased in numbers, for measles and smallpox have been fatal to them.
  By the evening the rain was coming down more heavily than ever. It was not possible to keep the moisture out of our belongings; everything became mouldy except what became rusty. It rained all that night; and day-light saw the downpour continuing with no prospect of cessation. The pack-mules could not have gone on with the march; they were already rather done up by their previous ten days’ labor through rain and mud, and it

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