Thunk, thunk, thunk. A lone man whacks at a tree. Birds trill in the forest canopy. No one knows the man’s name or what language he speaks. He has no living friends, family, or neighbors. He lives in the Amazon rainforest—alone.
Brazil’s Indian Foundation released a shaky 2011 video of a so-called “uncontacted indigenous man” this summer. In the video, he chops a tree.
How sad to think of living entirely alone! Long ago, God determined that going solo wasn’t good. (Genesis 2:18) So He worked out a way for humans never to be alone. God’s omnipresence means He is always with us—in the highest heavens and the deepest seas. (Psalm 139:7-10) He is even in the desolate rainforest.
This man is the last of his tribe. The Indian Foundation has monitored the solitary man since 1996. Foundation members believe farmers and loggers may have killed his tribe in the 1980s. The last of his fellow tribesmen probably died around that time. Those tracking the man saw evidence he was alive in May. He appears to be 55-60 years old and in good health. They call him “the Indian of the hole” because of the holes he digs.
At first, foundation members tried to contact the man. The man clearly wanted no contact. He remained hidden in a crude hut and shot arrows through a hole in the grass wall. The foundation hasn’t tried again since 2005. But its members have left tools and seeds for him.
Altair Algayer coordinates a team that monitors the Brazilian man from afar. The foundation’s policy allows such people to live in isolation. About every other month, Algayer’s team enters a 42.5-square-mile territory to look for signs that the man is alive and well. No one has seen him since 2016. But they find traces he leaves behind. They’ve seen corn, potatoes, papayas, and bananas he has planted. In May, they found fresh footprints and a newly cut tree.
“This man . . . proved that, even like that, alone in the forest, it is possible to survive and resist joining mainstream society,” Algayer says.
Does the man truly not want to join society? Or does he simply not understand what lies beyond his patch of jungle? Sadly, he may never experience the joy of God-ordained community. But this is sure: The “Indian of the hole” has an eternal soul made in God’s image and valued by His Creator.