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posted Aug 3, 2010, 7:03 AM by Julie Bateman   [ updated Aug 3, 2010, 7:06 AM ]

Our car, now being called Chevrole (its brand on one side), had taken a beating in the Pantanal so we took it to its owner, Gercione, first thing in the morning. His house is faster and cheaper (aka free) than the mechanics, and in no time had fixed the roof rack and taken care of some other rattling sounds. After a stop in ConstruMax for James to pick up his favorite Brazilian tools, and for us to confirm our next order, we said goodbye to James and Mercedes, and then a small thank you to James for his straight eight-week sunrise to sunset shift building the school.

Ethan and I headed back to the Pantanal plotting how to get the wood out of the forest in case Fiao’s tractor didn’t come through. With fingers crossed we stopped at Fiao’s ranch and were dismayed to find the tractor gone. Fatchima met us at the gate, and as we rushed to ask where Fiao and his tractor were, she asked why in the world we weren’t with Fiao in the forest.

And what we discovered is that Fiao had left early in the morning, picked up the three lumberjacks, Joao and Eder and collected lumber all morning, taken lunch and a sesta, and was still out (then at 4 pm) collecting lumber. Our jaws dropped.

Ethan had kept telling me that Fiao would come through with the tractor, and I kept fearing the worst after our truck experience (quick update – it was “fixed” and a driver named Wellingtom drove it all the way from Cuiaba to the Lodge, and then he was so scared it wouldn’t start up again that he left the motor running while he had dinner, and his fear was confirmed when he returned that night to Cuiaba and the engine lit on fire halfway down the Transpantaneira – fortunately Wellingtom was completely unharmed). Anyways, I felt incredibly silly about our wasted morning carrying the five vigas a few days back, but overwhelmingly I felt relieved on hearing this great surprise from Fatchima.