Friday, July 10, 2009

My amazing trip with the Kunas

Today I learned how to make molas. Some of Pablo’s family members taught Natalia and me, and we were surprised at how difficult it is and how slow we are. It was quite exciting. I am making a parrot mola, and I love it! It is totally hard and meticulous, but it makes me more inspired to create recycled and interesting clothes into new fashions when I return to Ecuador and start projects and shows and then when I go back to the US!

I have to mention this, because it made my trip amazing: the food. Our cook/diving guide/nature leader/friend Jacinto makes some of the most soul-healing food I have had in my life. I can’t pinpoint what makes me crumple for his cooking, but I think it has to do with the love in all the food he prepares. Its sounds corny, but you can totally taste it. He just mixes and matches interesting things one would never think would work, and makes them taste fantastic together. I also just love tropical food in general, I am in love with plantains, yucca, lentils, coconut rice, pineapple, mango, and coconut, and I don’t know what I am going to do without them when I leave!!!

We spent the whole day lounging in the hammocks stitching molas, but when the sun went down we went to town and went to a traditional Kuna wedding. First the woman is thrown in a hammock with a cloth over her head. A fire is put under her hammock and all the women and children gather in that cabana and sing and light candles and prepare her for her wedding. The men go out running around the island looking for the groom. The bride and groom happened to be around fifteen, but that is normal here, they all marry young. They run around in groups singing. It is kind of like a big game of hide and go seek. After a while the men find the groom and pick him up and run around the city singing, “ he is for you, he is all yours, he is for you” and then they throw him in the hammock too. If he gets out of the hammock once or twice the men go and chase him down but if he escapes a third time that means the wedding is off. But in this case the groom stayed in the hammock and the bride and groom are pushed around and catcalled and then they were pushed out of the hammock and all the people that touched them are forced to strip in the middle of the hut and bathe. The boy and girl (the bride and groom) go back to their respective homes and can’t see each other for a week. The festival does not end there. The next day the boy needs to go out to the jungle hours and hours away and climb the tallest tree and cut firewood and bring it back to the mother-in-law for a week straight. Then if the parents like the groom he can move into their house with their daughter.

We retired back to our cabanas and sat on the beach watching a solar eclipse with Pablo, Jacinto, Natalia and me singing at the top of our lungs to the stars, the lapping sea and the glowing orange moon.

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