If there was any silver lining that the team hadn’t had time to set up camp before the ambush, it was that they still had their packs safely strapped to their backs. But they were hungry, tired, and most of them needed to use the bathroom. After at least an hour of following the tribal warriors, Becky finally begged Levi to ask them if we could take a break.
“Je’el u páajtal k parar biilankiltej táankab?” Levi asked the chief’s daughter.
“She says there is no bathroom,” Levi told the group. “I’ll ask her if we can just pee behind a tree. Lu’um? Paach junkúul che’?”
“Please.” Becky stepped forward, crossing her legs and holding herself, pleading with her eyes, woman to woman.
The chief’s daughter rolled her eyes. “Ma’alob. Bin.” Her resigned expression was all the translation the team needed.
“Dad, get the toilet paper out of my backpack side pocket,” Matt mumbled.
“Mine too.” Becky turned around, offering her pack to Nicholas for easier access. “And come with me. I don’t want to be in the jungle by myself.”
The guys spread out, tucking themselves away for a tiny bit of privacy.
“This is ridiculous,” Becky grumbled. “You warned me this would be primitive camping.”
“Eh, don’t worry about it. Everyone else is thankful you begged. Look, even some of the tribesmen are tucked behind a tree.”
“I’m not going to look!” Becky hissed. “They better not be looking at me, either.”
“I’m standing in between you and them with a death glare,” Nicholas said. “Just finish up. I need to go too.”
When they were all safely back on the trail, Becky handed around her hand sanitizer and they all seemed grateful for that as well.
“Ba’ax le je’ela’?” One of the warriors grabbed the hand sanitizer bottle and sniffed then pulled back with a wrinkled nose. He shoved it back in Becky’s hands.
“It’s hand sanitizer,” Levi said, rubbing his hands together. “To clean your hands. Cho’oik k’aboob.”
The man shook his head and stepped back with his fellow tribesmen.
Before continuing, the team members helped each other reach into their bags for protein bars. Nicholas grabbed a handful of them out of Levi’s pack and handed them to Levi. “Offer some to the men and the girl.” Nicholas made a show of opening the wrapper and taking a bite to show them what the little bars were for.
“Lela’ jaanal,” Levi said, offering the food. Most of the men stayed in their positions but the curious man stepped forward again. He sniffed the bar and took a bite. Then he turned his head and spit the bite onto the ground behind him.
“Ma’ bin jaanal.” He shook his head and handed the bar to the chief’s daughter. She sniffed the protein bar, wrinkled her nose and handed the bar to Levi.
Levi wrapped the bar and gave it to Nicholas. “Will you put this back in my bag? They say it’s not food.” Levi chuckled and took a bite of the one he already had open.
The tribal chief’s daughter pulled aside one of the warriors and spoke quietly to him in their native tongue. He then took off running ahead.
“What did she say?” Nicholas asked.
“I think she told him that their guests were hungry and that he should run ahead to have the tribe prepare a meal for us.” Levi bowed his head to the woman in thanks and spoke softly. “Níib óolal.”
She grunted and flipped her braid as she turned to keep leading the march.
“Feisty little thing,” Levi muttered under his breath and Nicholas chuckled.
“Hope she’s not already married.” Nicholas pushed his brother’s shoulder playfully.
“Shut up.” Levi bit his lips, but a smile shown in his eyes.
If Nicholas thought a beautiful professor was out of his league, Levi had an uphill battle crushing on a Mayan princess.