Friday, May 2, 2008

Leaving Panama

After 3 months, we left Panama feeling as through we had seen the whole country. Our experiences with indigenous people left us a little less depressed while going over American History with Parker and Sabrina. At least some Indians survived the Europeans. In Panama, there are large sections of the country, the islands of the San Blas and the Mountains of the North East that are governed by indigenous tribes. Are they poor? Are they happy?, hard to say. They are friendly, curious and healthy looking. The Kuna seem to be the best organized with a strong sense of community with the Salis in charge. Cruisers we met were building a house in the Bocas del Toro area. Gringos are buying up land from indigenous folks for the climate, low cost of living and love of no-see-ums. I met the groundskeeper, his wife and 3 kids ages 4, 3, and 1 at a cruiser potluck at the cruiser home. Later I learned that the wife was 18, meaning that she had her first child at 14. As a mother, it was hard to imagine my daughter capable of marriage and kids in 5 more years. Without educational opportunities, that is the course their life takes.