Evolutionary artwork

We stepped into the hut. Inside it was cool, damp, and dark. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust, as it does when we step from the brightness of an agricultural clearing into the daytime twilight of the jungle. The inside of the hut was simple like other Katu huts that I have seen. There was a central wooden altar, ringed by ornate blue-and-white patterned vases. Read more…

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Ghosts of the Saola

Mr. Tren led me to a house at the far end of the courtyard. Long thin strips of amber sunlight filtered through the wooden slats of the hut, creating an eerie play of light and dark. As I stepped inside, it struck me that this was a room filled with caged shadows, a sun-splintered prison for the ghosts within. And there were ghosts here: Read more…

Saola ghosts

After a hurried breakfast Mr. Tren leads me to a hut at the far end of the village. We greet the owner and enter. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. When they do I see a typical Katu dwelling: Two beds, made of wooden planks, stand in opposite corners. In another corner there is a cooking fire, a cluster of pots and pans, and spices that have no English names. The walls are covered with an assortment of pictures: some, torn from magazines, show pale-skinned models and favorite football players, others are polaroid-type photographs of family members and friends. And then I see it: a skull hanging on the opposite wall that is unmistakably Saola. Read more…

The Katu

A cluster of faces are crammed-jammed into the low overhang of a rounded doorway. Every time I look up the children giggle, blush, and scatter. A few seconds later they’re back, grinning self-conscious smiles and staring at one of the few Westerners they have ever seen. There is something simple and endearing in their curiosity. Still, none of them have the gumption to actually enter the hut. Not until the village elder, Mr. Tren, crouches beside me, claps me on the shoulder, and begins trying to teach me words in his language. That proves to be the ice-breaker. Read more…