by Eva Estes
I recently had the opportunity to purchase two small lots in a preserved area of the Riviera Maya. My dream is to build a funky three-tiered house made with all natural materials, live "off the grid" with solar power, to grow beautiful gardens and to take care of any creature that needs help in the wild.
We were staying in an old stone cabin that actually used to be a restaurant, with no electricity and no water, while clearing the land and having a well built.
One day while coming back hot, sweaty and worn out, a friend brought a very tiny, wild creature that had been orphaned. It was a baby Coati. We named him Duande—the creature of the dark.
Duande loved mangos. He would roll them and slurp and eat them with such delight. When he was finished, he would curl up on my neck inside the mosquito net and sleep or nuzzle his long, little black nose inside my ear.
As he got stronger, I would put him on my shoulder and bicycle over to my land. This was his playground; he would dig with his little long nose and run all over the place with curiosity, always following us wherever we would go.
These creatures are common in the jungles here, very nocturnal and, when they get older, can be very aggressive. They have sharp teeth and long, sharp claws. I knew he couldn't stay with us long, though it was hard to imagine his being that way. I was his temporary mom and I still miss him very much.