by Orson Scott Card
Sam Monson and Anamari Boagente had two encounters in their lives, forty years apart. The
first encounter lasted for several weeks in the high Amazon jungle, the village of Agualinda. The
second was for only an hour near the ruins of the Glen Canyon Dam, on the border between
Navaho country and the State of Deseret.
When they met the first time, Sam was a scrawny teenager from Utah and Anamari was a
middle-aged spinster Indian from Brazil. When they met the second time, he was governor of
Deseret, the last European state in America, and she was, to some people's way of thinking, the
mother of God. It never occurred to anyone that they had ever met before, except me. I saw it
plain as day, and pestered Sam until he told me the whole story. Now Sam is dead, and she's
long gone, and I'm the only one who knows the truth. I thought for a long time that I'd take this
story untold to my grave, but I see now that I can't do that. The way I see it, I won't be allowed
to die until I write this down. All my real work was done long since, so why else am I alive? I
figure the land has kept me breathing so I can tell the story of its victory, and it has kept you
alive so you can hear it. Gods are like that. It isn't enough for them to run everything. They want
to be famous, too.
Passengers were nothing to her. Anamari only cared about helicopters when they brought
medical supplies. This chopper carried a precious packet of benaxidene; Anamari barely noticed
the skinny, awkward boy who sat by the crates, looking hostile. Another Yanqui who doesn't
want to be stuck out in the jungle. Nothing new about that. Norteamericanos were almost
invisible to Anamari by now. They came and went.
It was the Brazilian government people she had to worry about, the petty bureaucrats suffering
through years of virtual exile in Manaus, working out their frustrations by being petty tyrants
over the helpless Indians. No I'm sorry we don't have any more penicillin, no more syringes,
what did you do with the AIDS vaccine we gave you three years ago? Do you think we're made
of money here? Let them come to town if they want to get well. There's a hospital in São Paulo
de Olivenca, send them there, we're not going to turn you into a second hospital out there in the
middle of nowhere, not for a village of a hundred filthy Baniwas, it's not as if you're a doctor,
you're just an old withered-up Indian woman yourself, you never graduated from the medical
schools, we can't spare medicines for you. It made them feel so important, to decide whether or
not an Indian child would live or die. As often as not they passed sentence of death by refusing
to send supplies. It made them feel powerful as God.
Anamari knew better than to protest or argue -- it would only make that bureaucrat likelier to
kill again in the future. But sometimes, when the need was great and the medicine was common,
Anamari would go to the Yanqui geologists and ask if they had this or that. Sometimes they did.
What she knew about Yanquis was that if they had some extra, they would share, but if they
didn't, they wouldn't lift a finger to get any. They were not tyrants like Brazilian bureaucrats.
They just didn't give a damn. They were there to make money.
That was what Anamari saw when she looked at the sullen light-haired boy in the helicopter --
another Norteamericano, just like all the other Norteamericanos, only younger.