Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg

Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg

Author:Yossi Ghinsberg
Format: epub
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (Perseus)
Published: 2011-01-21T05:00:00+00:00

Improvising a shelter was no easy task. I uprooted small bushes, broke off branches, tore off leaves, and dragged it all back to a little alcove in the stony hillside. I scattered leaves about on the floor and piled branches in the opening until they formed some kind of barrier.

I was famished. I hadn’t eaten since morning. A way down the hillside I saw a palmetto tree. I could eat the palm heart, as Karl had taught us. The tree was small, but its roots went deep into the rocky ground. I dug around them with my hands until I finally succeeded in uprooting it. The heart was at the very top. I took a large rock and smashed it against the trunk until I uncovered the soft, white heart. It was a small amount of nourishment, but I gathered every bit.

Suddenly I heard shouting.

It must be Kevin, I said to myself, and roared, ‘Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!’ but there was no reply.

It must have been my imagination. No, I could hear something. A family of monkeys. I trembled with fear. Karl had told us that there were always jaguars in the vicinity of bands of monkeys.

God, let Kevin get here.

I was wearing a blue T-shirt that Marcus had given me, a brown flannel shirt, rough underwear, jeans, socks, walking shoes, and a large bandanna tied around my neck. I crawled into my camouflaged little niche. The stones cut into my back, but they weren’t as bad as the cold. I was soaking wet and had no fire or anything with which to cover myself. I took the bandanna from around my neck and tied it over my face, and the warmth of my own breath gave me at least the illusion of comfort. Frightening thoughts filled my mind: wild animals, snakes. What if I didn’t find the pack? What if Kevin didn’t get here? I would either be devoured by wild beasts or die of starvation. I felt desperate, desolate, and I leapt out of the niche.

‘Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!’

‘Oha, oha,’ the cursed monkeys chattered.

I fled back to my alcove. I was choked with tears.

Don’t cry. Don’t break now. Be a man of action, I coaxed myself.

It was already dark. I replaced the bandanna over my face. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t get the frightening thoughts out of my mind.

Karl, why didn’t I listen to you? Marcus, why was I so cruel to you? Now I’m being punished.

I told myself that when morning came, I would find Kevin, and together we would make it out of this. When I found myself feeling hopeless, I whispered my mantra, ‘Man of action, man of action.’ I don’t know where I had gotten the phrase. Perhaps I had picked it up from one of Carlos Castaneda’s books. I repeated it over and over: a man of action does whatever he must, isn’t afraid, and doesn’t worry. But when I heard the rustle of branches outside, my motto wasn’t all that encouraging. I held my breath and waited for the rustling to recede into the jungle.


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