Paradise at The End of The Sea; Kuna Yala


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Categories: On The Water

Kuna women near the island of Porvenir- Kuna Yala's capital

Kuna women near the island of Porvenir- Kuna Yala’s capital

But on the smaller islands where only a few Kuna families reside in huts on the beach made of renewable materials among tall palms, there is not even electricity or a grocery store. The only light in the evening is from the small fires of coconut peals, over which the Kuna women boil fish-and-plantain soup. Life here is still completely self-contained and off the grid.

A Kuna women boiling conch over slow fire

After we choose our molas we walk around the island for a bit. Near the huts, between piles of coconuts for export, dogs and young children are running around, men are resting in hammocks strung between palm trees after a day of fishing and collecting coconuts, and women are busy boiling conchs.


Inside, the huts are dark. Typically, one family has two huts. A smaller hut serves as the kitchen, where fish is being smoked in one corner over a slow fire. The bigger hut is where the entire extended family, sometimes 10-12 people, sleeps in rows of small hammocks; there is no other furniture. We constantly have to bend our heads and be careful not to bump on doors and beams, as we are considerably taller than all the Kuna Indians. Most barely reach to our shoulders.

Smoking fish in the

Smoking fish in the “kitchen” hut.

A Kuna man is having lunch- fish sop- on the compacted sand floor of the kitchen hut.

A Kuna man is having lunch- fish soup- on the compacted sand floor of the kitchen hut.

The

The “bedroom” hut

The Kuna Indians are the second shortest people on earth after the pigmies.

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