Most media students dream of working for National Geographic one day. Today, we lived what has to be similar to a “day in the life of a National Geographic” writer or photographer. We drive several hours outside of the city, make it to and indigenous village, and from there hop in a boat to take a 45 minute ride to another village.
This was no ordinary boat ride-I had one of the Kuna chief’s sitting with me. He was older, but acted like a grandfather. Although we couldn’t communicate verbally, he was able to tell me that all the villages we passed belonged to him. Although the boat ride was more than a little bit damp, it was beautiful and exciting.
When we finally reached the village we saw dozens of huts, several canoe’s carved out of tree trunks and lots of small shelters. We were led into a meeting area and told to sit on a small bench. This is the point in the story where we all got a little nervous. There were six or seven Kuna chief’s staring us down, and the Kuna “police” looking us up and down while they held their knives and walking sticks. In the end, our fears never came true and the chief welcomed us to his village and allowed us to take video and pictures (after donating a fairly hefty sum to help buy food for the village children, who hadn’t eaten in days.)
I think what I admire most about the Kuna is their faith and dedication to children. They want to focus most of Bendaked’s efforts on the kids, because they still have a chance at life. The Kuna also hold strong to their religious beliefs and have hope through their faith. This in itself is a testament of faith, because if we were put in their situation, I don’t know if our faith would be as strong.