Mulutupu 8:56.9N 77:45.4W
Thu 30 Sep 2010 13:59
There is a cruisers bible that most everyone uses in the San Blas (author is a young German chap, Eric Bauhaus). The advice was not too enthusiastic about Mulutupu. but it worked out to be a treasure.
Despite the water around the village being full of jellies and jobbies, when we first touched land to go and find the Silas to go and pay our respects and dues we met a Columbian supply boat that had a plethora of fresh veg, by Kuna Standards anyway. The basic standards supplies when your lucky enough to come across them on a trade boat are: Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, White Cabbage, Tomato and Cucumber. You just have to start getting really imaginative when trying to feed cabbage to the kids, but lucky for them green stuff is rarely on the menu, so much so that when we do see brocolii there little eyes begin to sparkle, it's such a treat.
We were greated by Mr Green who was helpful and took us to the head honcho and was able to practice his English on us, but in true Kuna Style to style not shy about asking for stuff we might give him, very kuna.
We loved our meeting with the Silas here, it was all very serious and formal. Sitting poe-faced on either side of the desk repeating that, "we are from England, and very happy to be on your beutiful island", in perfectly aweful Spanish. Mulutupu is a really rather large village split into two communities, Neuvo-Sasardi and something else, inhabitants obviously are in one community or the other, but there is no devising line on the island. they just all 'know' which side they belong on. Mulutupu has a Panamanian funded medical centre and a school that educated kids till 16, it is where the kids who are smart enough and parent are able to fund further education come and live with other families in order to continue there studies after the age of 12. The Silas through our translater, Mr Green. Welcomed us to his Village and wanted to explain that they were very happy for us to come but that would we please be very careful and not invite the children on board. Two years ago some cruisers had had a couple of books stolen from there cockpit and it had obviously caused a big stir in the village.
The person we were keen to meet in the village was Simon Herrara. He is a School teacher here and has written books about the Kuna history and culture, plus speaks English extremely well, so he is the first person we have met who can help us understand the culture a little more.
In the afternoon we are permited to travel about 2 miles up the inland river and visit the Cemetary which is really interesting and a totally beautiful river trip through the village farm lands.
The tombs are really fantastic in a rustic way, basically large rooms with low sided roofs that can house an array of stuff; cooking areas with various pots and pans, bed spreads over the mound, hammocks, seats, odd bits and bobs that look like cherrished pieces. But the whole place is kept immaculatley, it's like a second home in the hills with the best view available in the community........
We didn't have a load of time here but we knew we wanted to return with Grand-parents. We met with Simon and asked if it would be possible to visit Port Esscoes with him on our return and it turned out to be a big old thing to get permission, but he promised he would try and organised something. We had obviously been very illegal on our last trip there. Due to the amounts of deaths during the ill-fated Scottish mission is seems that none of the surrounding communities wanted to take on the land, and the people refused to work there. Mulutupu, not being the nearest village, took control and now farm it. There is a small group of houses (see previous entry) where folk decamp to for 3 weeks at a time and then paddle au-famile 15 miles back to Mulla. But many locals still today choose not to visit this rather erie place.
Simon kindly lent us a book about the Operation Ralleigh excavation that had land
back in the 80's so we were able to read up abit before returning with Colins parents in a month.
After leaving Simon we took a walking tour around Mulatupu this always creates a trail of children and lots of ladies beckoning us in to purcase there latest collection of molas, I am finally getting an over load of Molas. But we get beckoned into a little family compound to say hello to the family and there animals which added up to be 2 tortouise, 1 tiny hunting monkey and a parrot. The kids where allowed to play with the lot of them, they were such a sweet family asked for nothing and seemed just happy for us to come to there home. We were both really rather touched by there humbleness so when we returned we steamed full speed in the direction of there home to hand over a chess and draughts set for there son who was wheelchair bound .
Graffittii even in these small communities.
Back on the boat and we are again surrounded by kids in ulus but also some very very young kids with there mothers coming out to give our children the beginnings of there mola creations, really really sweet then we hand over a tennis ball as a thank you, these were gift it seems not trades but the kids are madeup. So against what the guide said Mulla could easily be sailed past but we had a great experience of the people and the chance to see a sacred burial sight, plus find out more about the people and culture.
A small Mola which Zinnia was given by one of the kids. She gave them a tennis ball. Fair swap?