An anthropologist draws on personal experience for this eye-opening tale of two graduate students learning to live alongside one of the more remote branches of the human family. When ""two old white ladies,"" Margarita and Joanna, settle in her Peruvian jungle village for a year, Alicia regards them with interest and pity. They are so ignorant! They don't know to face upstream when they bathe, they make often-hilarious mistakes with the language, they harbor odd ideas about sex and family--but most of all, they are ""stingy,"" and don't know how to share their wealth of possessions properly. Through Alicia's eyes, readers will watch the outsiders' adjustments to the rhythms and customs they are studying, as they shed much of their physical and cultural baggage (but not their Grateful Dead and Beatles records), and discover wisdom in the Isabo way of life. By the end, while there are some gulfs that cannot be crossed (e.g., when her adopted baby daughter dies, Alicia believes that Joanna and Margarita exhibit unnecessarily prolonged grief), the villagers and visitors achieve a degree of mutual understanding. As in Nancy Farmer's A Girl Named Disaster (1996), readers will be convinced that they've been living in the head of a young woman whose world view is vastly different from their own, but whose values and mores ultimately come to be perfectly understandable.