As school continued, more and more villagers visited the classroom to share their knowledge. One woman waxed poetic about the color blue. Another spoke of the prophetic powers of weaving. A woman from Dolores’s prayer group emphasized the importance of innocence. Matilda’s mother picked up on this idea when she returned to deliver another lecture. This time, she said that her aunt once told her that if a woman is standing on a reef and watching birds fly through the sky, it means she has lost her virginity and is planning to travel to the nearest city of white people. She warned the female students to beware of watching the birds on the reef, else onlookers will think they are impure.
The importance of shared knowledge and communal teachings surfaces again in this section. This time it becomes clear that the type of information can vary without influencing the usefulness of the exercise. In other words, even small anecdotes are can be valuable lessons because of the fact that they represent the community. There is inherent worth, Jones suggests, in getting to know what one’s neighbors believe, even if those beliefs appear trivial. The process ultimately strengthens a group’s sense of community and its ability to evolve.