Catch up pics - Kunas

Sat 8 Feb 2014 16:26
A visit from the mola sellers, three generations in one ulu.

Traditional dress, complete with wini beads on calves and forearms. They won't sell those to visitors - they're just for Kunas.

Grandmother and Granddaughter welcome some juice.

Bailing out a traditional ulu. They all seem to leak a little, or at least get swamped by the waves, as the Kuna make frequent stops to bail out.

Wichub Wala, the mainland behind, overflowing on to stilts over the water.

The bar at wichub wala. 

The bar doubles as a sewing room as the ladies tending it got on with making molas in between customers. They had an old sewing machine there too, which they used to sew padding on to the back of molas - presumably for use as table mats or oven gloves or some such. I got the impression it was the only one on the island.

Young and old make molas.

An extension to the Congreso and one of the houses.

The Congreso is a bit like the town hall. Each village has at least three Sailas, the chiefs. They sit on hammocks in the centre and around them on benches sit first the women and children, and then the men. Everyone can chip in and say their piece and, as this can become rather boring, some people have the job of suddenly shrieking every now and then, to wake every one up. A bit like the bells in an Anglican communion service. The houses are very beautiful and simple. They have hardly anything in them, no beds, the Kuna sleep in hammocks, just a few bits and bobs. There were solar panels on poles around the place and some electric lighting - note the Croissant Neuf style lighting - here's a close up:

Plastic water bottle lamp fixture - all that's missing is gaffer tape!

Whilst we were there Phil got to extend his animal whispering skills to a include a little parakeet. When I tried to pick him up he just nipped me!

We were able to just wander around the village, the people there made us very welcome, especially as I wore a traditional mola that we'd bought. They all wanted to look at it, to figure out who'd made it, and they persuaded me to add a traditional wrap around skirt and red and yellow head scarf. And, no, I'm not posting the pictures! 

What we saw was a closely knit, happy community, finding a way to live their traditional lives whilst still welcoming visitors from outside.