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Kids here in the jungle are like all kids, they like to play games, climb trees, make forts, and everything else. All the little boys have bows and arrows and try to outshoot each other. The little girls have net bags that they put squashes in and pretend the squashes are baby dolls. All their sources of entertainment are homemade toys, homemade games, or just playing outside. They are very creative: they have made games that are very similar to tag and hopscotch, although a bit more complicated.
Some people might think that playing outside can be kind of boring, but kids in our tribe find so many ways to entertain themselves. Sometimes the kids like to make small villages and gardens with little twigs and grass or slay a nonggon. One of the more popular activities is making dams. Since our village is cradled by the mountains, rain water runs down and makes many little streams. Kids find places where the water has eroded the dirt and has made little canyons, then they dam it up with sticks, moss, and mud until it is waterproof. Once the water reaches the top of the dam, the kids open it up and the water creates a “flash flood.”
For toys, the kids often make simple tops out of acorn-like nuts or tie a thin string around a large-bodied beetle’s neck like a leash and then walk around with it flying above them. My brothers and I started a trend with racing “boats” in small streams. I can't really call them boats because we use either sticks or leaves, but it's a fun thing we can do while we wait for people to gather for church on Sundays.
My two favorite toys the kids here make are the model helicopters and airplanes.
To make their model heli, the kids first cut off the large flowering bulb at the end of a banana stock. This large bulb makes the body of the heli. Next they insert sticks on the bottom of the bulb for the landing skids. The rotor blades are made from woven red fruit (pandanus) leaves and, when the wind catches these rotor blades, they actually spin.
To make the model airplane is basically the same as the heli, although for the body of the plane they use the large, soft stem of a taro plant. The propellers are also made with the woven red fruit leaves. Kids throw their airplanes off high vantage points and the propellers spin really fast, almost looking like they make the plane fly.
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