Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Colombia/Panama Day 11: San Blas Islands- Tupile

After breakfast in the morning we went straight to a deserted island.  It was a similar day to the day before; snorkeling and enjoying the sun.  I walked around just a little bit.  
I have to say it is hard to get exercise on a tiny island.  

Half of the group wanted to watch the World Cup and the other half wanted to stay on the island.  I went with the World Cup crew because I am such a die hard futbol fan.  
Just kidding!  I wanted to play the banjo. 

The owner of the "hotel", Amador, sat down next to me and asked what my instrument was called and we chatted for a bit.  (His son just graduated from medical school and will return to be a doctor for the Kuna.)
So far the banjo has been a very foreign instrument (not just for the Kuna but for Colombians as well) which I find just a little surprising considering the banjo's African roots.  The instrument came to the US with slavery, so why didn't this happen in Latin America where slavery was just as common as it was in the states?  

This is our dorm room.  

This is the toilet for our room.  I am sure you think I am making this up but I am not.  I used this toilet on several occasions, including in the evening when the water lever rose and sea water splashed up through the cracks in the floor with every powerful wave.  

The same person who designed my toilet designed this pigpen.  (That was a joke.) 

We had a few hours of free time after getting the lodging squared away (not everyone had a toilet with an ocean view).  I explored the village of Tupile a little, which was bigger than Caladonia.  I spoke with a teacher at a school about Kuna education.  They are required to go to school until the 9th grade but then if they want to continue they have to go the mainland (on Kuna land) where there is a school that goes up to the 12 grade.  If they attend this school they have to live on the mainland and so most do not continue past the 9th grade.

Is it messed up if I say that pet owners look like their pets, and the pet is a monkey?  Well, whatever, I didn't say it.  I just asked a question. 

I walked by this boy and he asked me to take his picture, so he could see it.  He seemed pretty proud of himself.  

We had lobster for dinner.  The lobsters were small and so we got two, but they were delicious.  
It has been really fun to experience Kuna life.  It is impressive how well they have managed to hold on to their way of life, even if it has been infiltrated.  For example the Panamanian government along with US missionaries are building a 'feeding center' on Tupile.  
Isn't that a shame?  They will turn the Kuna into homeless people, homeless people who eat lobster.  

1 comment:

  1. There is so much in this post. The people, the food, the "view", mad architectural skills (pig pen & toilets). You have such an adventurous spirit. I can't believe all the sights you are seeing and the stories you will get to share!

    You are getting so tan. I bet people think your a Latina. Is your Spanish so much better?


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