Back to Blas
2 April 2015 1000
As you will know from Mark’s most recent blog, we are due to land in Fatu Hiva on Friday 3rd after which we will have been at sea for 26 days! Supplies are still holding up well and there are still many books left to read!
So before we land on an island renowned for it’s rich and vibrant traditional way of life my thoughts are returning to those other islands that we visited - the San Blas - and the beautiful, friendly Kuna Yala people who also hold onto their traditions and unique culture.
The Kuna Yala, whose land occupies the San Blas islands and a long strip along the coast of nearby Panama, live today largely as they have done for centuries, fishing, growing coconuts and living in several densely populated islands which barely rise above sea level.
Their society is tightly knit and each island has a chief, a couple of whom we were fortunate enough to meet. The women have considerable power because they are the earners of hard currency by selling their fabulous MOLAS to visitors like ourselves but also to stores throughout Panama.
A Mola is a rectangular panel of inverted applique which the women are constantly sewing. We saw children having a go and learning from their mothers at a very young age.
The women’s traditional costume, worn by 95% of the women that we met, consists of a blouse, a lava lava skirt and a bandana head dress. Two Mola panels, of similar but not identical design, form the bodice of blouse. The most traditional Molas are of linear design which echoes the body paint worn in former times.
Here are some Kuna ladies dressing me !
Here is a Mola that they made.
Here are two Molas made by this beautiful lady.
And here are two more. The lady may not be wearing Molas but.......
She arrived on Lovesail in her traditional craft!