Today’s adventures were definitely the craziest of all our days here. Everyone kept commenting on how unreal our surroundings were and how the huts and people looked like a scene off National Geographic. At one point, I was pretty unsure of our safety!! I know that if my mom knew where I was at that time, she would have freaked out!
So here’s the story:
We rode in a little fishing boat for what the driver claimed would be a 30 minute ride. That 30 minutes was either eternally long, or it was actually longer than 30. The loooong ride was a very wet one! We were all soaking wet by the time we reached the small island of huts. On the way to the island, the Kuna chief rode with us, actually right beside me! At one point, he took off his feathered hat and handed it to me so that he could get some plastic shelter for us, to guard our equipment from getting as soaked as we were. I felt so honored to hold his hat, and then again when the Kuna cheif covered up my lap and camera bag with his plastic tablecloth. The rest of the ride the cheif continued to tell me how each island, tree, and bird belonged to him. (I would just smile and nod!)
Once we got to the island, we were directed into a hut, where we sat until we got the permission to begin taking photos and video. We first interviewed the island high chief, then went to visit the individual families, like we do everyday. The weather was so humid and hot that several us began to feel faint. We made ourselves tough it out because of the amazing experience surrounding us.
The children on the island were so happy to see us, and hold our hands, and look at the pictures we were taking. It was definitely one of the sweetest things I’d ever seen.
We took the long boat ride back to the mainland, followed by the long bus ride back to our villas, and we finished the day with a lunch at our favorite local sandwich shop, with the Bendaked leaders. They thanked us over and over and over again and then gave us panama bracelets. They are soooo cute.
Overall, it’s been such a fantastic and unreal experience. I feel so lucky to have had this oppurtunity and I’m excited to get back and start working on this site. I have such high hopes for the success of this site.