Sunday, February 9, 2014

Seeing the Kuna Indian Village

Molas are everywhere!
Since we did not know exactly where we were among the numerous cays, we chose to anchor near several other World ARC boats. It was sort of the blind leading the blind as we soon discovered. We didn’t realize we were off the coast of Palm Island, which was a residential area. I called the Rally office on the VHF to confirm where to find them. Davide and I both agreed that we should come to the pink and green building and walk toward the airport landing strip. Not a problem!

Walking through the neighborhood.
We went ashore looking for the WARC Rally office only to discover it was three islands away. We knew it was on the island with the airport. When we asked the Kuna Indians for the airport, they all pointed in the same direction. After locking the dinghy to a concrete dock, Dennis, Peter and Ron assisted some Kuna Indian men in pulling a large water taxi up onto the shore. They were using PVC pipe as rollers. The extra muscle power of our guys made the last few yards easier for all. Fortunately, one on the older men understood some English and directed us through the village to the airport.
Children playing in their "yard."

So we continued to walk through their village until we got to the other side of the island. That is when we discovered that we were several islands away from the airport. It was still a wonderful experience as we saw there “city” streets of sand and their thatched roof dwellings. Upon glancing into one of the open doors, it appears to be a large room with a sand floor and little else. The stick and thatch dwelling must be much cooler than sitting in the sun all day. The houses are very close together and the ladies were sitting in chairs in the paths between the huts sewing their molas.
Ladies sewing and girls playing in the "side street."

Homes are constructed out of sticks and palm leaves.
When I asked if I could take photos of them and their work, the women said “one dollar.” But the little children wanted their pictures taken, so I did! The villagers checked us out but were cautiously friendly. I am guessing that not that many people visit this “residential” island. Seeing their village and way of life in a natural setting was most interesting.

Anytime you ask if you may take a photo of someone, they say, "One dollar." When they asked for a cookie for a child in a dugout canoe, I replied, "One dollar." At first the mother looked at me strangely and then she started laughing. So we all laughed together and I took the photo!

The structure at the end of the dock is the toilet.
They bathe in another area of the sea.
The islands were very clean and did not smell of garbage or human waste. We learned about their “public works” system. The community toilets are small huts on stilts that are out over the water. That means don’t swim off your boat in that area! They bath in another area of the beach away from the toilet. Drinking water is collected from the rain and the guide books advise against consuming it.

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