When asked, Most Pech people, elders included, believed that their ancestors used to
make fire with spark-producing fire stones. However in his book "Revelaciones
Verdaderas" hp.367, Father Fernando de Espino makes reference to the use of a vine. After
drying them, they wrapped them around a piece of wood and pulled them back and forth to
create friction. (This technique sounds a little similar to the one used by the tribes of
Irian Jaya today).
Another technique consisted of creating friction with two pieces of wood by hand. (hand
drill technique most commonly used by indigenous tribes in the past).
Traditionally there were three types of housing.
- The most ancient was a common house for 3 families, usually father and 2 sons (or sons
in law) with their wives.
- Single room houses were built for one family, which served as kitchen, eating room and
bedroom. It was the most commonly used in all Pech villages.
- More recently houses with double rooms were made. One room is used for daily activities,
the other to sleep. It is influenced by modern habits.
3 types of cooking pit
- Fogón de Tierra. Made of wood, stones and clay by women. It is mounted on a table and
is the most commonly used today.
- Fogon de Lorena. Same as the Fogon de Tierra, but with a chimney to evacuate the smoke.
This is a recent influence by the organization Junta Nacional de Bienestar Social.
- Fogon de Tres Piedras. The most primitive. It is made of 3 stones. They cook on it using
leaves in which are placed the food.
Traditional Pech shoes were sandals made of tapir or cow leather with a buckle around
the big toe. They were worn from age 15.
Soaps, Perfumes and Skin Protection
Miskitos used to make a special oil with perfumes called Batana. It is good for skin,
but smells bad to the unaccustomed person.
Women used to smear on their faces achiote berry to protect their skin from the sun and
from insect bites when they went fishing or working in the field.
To decorate themselves, men used a mixture of soot, pine tree resin, and powder from
smoked pine wood. These customs were described by the German writer Conzemius in his book
"Los Indios Payas de Honduras"in 1920, but the practice has disappeared today.
Traditional soap for washing clothes was made from lemongrass or flowers of the
"jilite" (or quilite) plant. This was then replaced by a soap made from the
innards of a pig or cow mixed with lye. The liquid was dried by fire until it thickened
and could be formed into a ball of soap.