Kapoors Year 7: Europe/Ecuador/Peru travel blog

We Opted To Take A Tour To An Indigenous Village, One That...

During Our Half Hour Boat Trip, Rudy Checked His Phone Messages While...

Once It Was As Good As New, He Slipped It Around His...

We Were In Luck! A Tree Had Recently Fallen And The Men...

Here's A Better View Of The Size Of The Tree And The...

This Man Was Busy Making A New Handle For His Axe

While These Two Were Chipping Off The Bark From The Outside Edges

And Then To Our Surprise, The Oldest In The Team Revs Up...

No Safety Glasses Or Steel-Toed Boots, The Others Stand Well Clear Of...

The Motorized Saw Cuts Deep Grooves In The Hard Wood, Making It...

We Climbed Back Into Our Boat Again And Set Off For The...

Our Local Guide Signalled To The Man Operating The Outboard Motor Whenever...

We Ducked Into An Idyllic Lagoon, With Water Lilies Blooming Among The...

Here's A Closer Look At The Vegetation As We Passed

Suddenly We Heard Screeching Above Our Heads And I Was Able To...

We Rounded A Corner And The Pristine Village Came Into Sight

We Docked And Walked Up A Dirt Embankment Onto Solid Ground Once...

All Appeared Quiet, The First Person We Spotted Was This Little Boy...

We Were Invited Inside The Nearest Large Thatched Building Where The Women...

One Woman Showed Me What She Was Working On, I Was A...

And Then She Showed Me It Was The Beginnings Of A Mask,...

The Women Were Friendly And Welcoming, The Small Children Were A Little...

But After A Little Encouragement, This Little One Managed A Sort Of...

The Ball Was Now Forgotten, The Little Boy Watched The Men Wandering...

Here's A Great View Looking Back Towards The Boat Landing

We Were Shown Around The Village, We Learned That These Were The...

This Is A Cashew Nut, Growing Outside And Hanging Below, The Fruit...

We Learned That A Teacher Comes From Colon To Educate The Children...

Here Is A Schedule Of Classes For The Week - Note The...

Anil, Ever The Physics Teacher, Writes Einstein's Formula On A Corner Of...

This Senior Student, Like Students Around The World, Gives The Same Open-Jawed...

We Were Told That Our Traditional Lunch Would Be Ready Soon, We...

And Our Every Movement Was Watched Over By The Retired Elder Of...

However, It Was The Pet Toucan Who Attracted The Most Attention, My...

We Toured The Open-Air Kitchen With Its Traditional Three Log Fire

Thank Goodness They Were Informed In Advance That We Prefer Chicken Or...

I Was Surprised To See They Had Running Water For Cooking And...

And Modern Metal Tongs For Serving Food

Anil Pointed Out That The Tongs Slipped Nicely In Between The Rows...

Lunch Was Served In Such An Attractive Manner, Wrapped Up In Banana...

We Each Selected Our Meal, Chicken (Or Fish) With Fried Plantain And...

In Case One Found The Yucca Yucky, The Pet Toucan Was Only...

After Our Lunch We Were Invited To Another Building To Admire, And/Or...

Most Of The Baskets Featured Turtle Designs, There Were Wild Turtles In...

If I Had A Home And Walls For Display, I Would Have...

Here We Could See Small Masks, Somewhat Like The One The Woman...

I Adored This Parrot Creation, No Two Were Exactly Alike

Thank Goodness I Could Take Photos Of The Masks, They Are Entirely...

To Our Surprise, We Were Invited To Watch A Snippet Of Traditional...

This Little Fellow Really Wanted His Mother To Join In

Lastly, The Young Men Came In To Dance With The Women, The...

There Was No Shyness When We Asked For A Group Photo

And These Two Young Beauties Were The Sweetest Of All

The Girls Presented Us With Their Floral Headdresses To Take Away With...

And Our Heartfelt Goodbyes Were Graciously Accepted By The Chief And His...


@@@@@@@


BACKGROUND

To make my writing go a little easier, I have copied some excerpts from the Culture chapter of the Lonely Planet – Panamá:

Of the several dozen native tribes that inhabited Panama when the Spanish arrived, only seven now remain. Perhaps the most well-known group in the West, due to their distinctive dress, are the Kuna, who inhabit the Archipiélago de San Blás and run their native lands as a comarca (autonomous region).

The Emberá and Wounaan inhabit the jungle of the eastern Panamá Province and the Darién, and although both groups distinguish themselves from one another, the difference is more linguistic than cultural. Historically, both groups have eked out a living on the edges of the jungles through hunting, fishing, subsistence farming and rearing livestock, though rapidly increasing deforestation has reduced the extent of their traditional lands.

The Emberá are also exceptional woodcarvers and basket weavers. Traditionally the men carved boas, frogs and birds from the dark cocobolo hardwood, though recently they have taken to carving tiny animal figurines out of the rock-hard tagua nut.

The women produce some of the finest baskets in Latin America, which are woven from palm fibers, and require several months of intensive labor to complete. Both carvings and baskets fetch a high market price, and provide a much-needed secondary income for most communities.

Emberá homes are extremely well suited to the rainforest environment. Built on stilts that are 3m to 4m off the ground, the floors consist primarily of surprisingly thin, but amazingly strong, strips of palm bark. This vaulted design protects occupants and food from ground pests and swollen rivers, and the palm bark is plentiful in the forest and easy to fashion. A log with stairs carved into it provides easy access to the home.

To permit breezes to enter, more than half of the typical Emberá and Wounaan home is open-sided. The roofs are made of thatch, which keeps the rain out and acts as good insulation against the tropical sun. The kitchen typically occupies one corner and has an oven made of mud. Beneath the home, medicinal plants and edible vegetables and roots are grown. Pigs and poultry are often raised in pens.

Over the past few decades, the Emberá have gradually replaced their traditional attire with Western clothing. Except for a few older individuals, the men have set aside their loincloths for short pants and now prefer short-sleeved shirts to going around bare-chested.

The women, who traditionally wore only a skirt, increasingly don bras and some have taken to wearing shirts as well. Many still wear traditional jewelry, especially wide silver bracelets and elaborate necklaces made of silver coins.

Today, the majority of Emberá inhabits the fringes of the Darién, and lives beyond the range of destruction brought forth by loggers, farmers and ranchers. However, an increasing number of communities are turning to tourism for survival, particularly in the Canal Zone where traditional lifestyles are no longer feasible.

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

@@@@@@@


Share |