Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Kuna people

Today we got a lot accomplished and started to make a positive change in this community! One of Kuna Prints’ goals as a company is to benefit the artisan community by selling shoes and giving some of the profits and assistance back. I feel very passionate about helping others, without invading and changing their customs and traditions and ways of life, but by just assisting them to flourish in their own unique way.

We started by first going to the grade school and met with the principal and all the head teachers and talked with them about what they needed to improve in their school and education overall on this island. The grade school is taught in rickety concrete buildings with cracks and holes, and a dangerous rusty fence. They want to tear down the schoolhouse and in its place put up traditional houses made of natural materials with natural airflow, so that the students can learn in a peaceful and natural setting. The school needs basic things like pencils, maps, electricity, books, and many other countless things. Natalia and I are excited to help the gorgeous Kuna people improve their education and make it better for all the students.

We left the school and went to the health clinic, and we got a wish list of what they need. We are going to do our best to get the things the doctors want.

Then we had the biggest accomplishment of the day: we joined all the important Kuna leaders (Silos) of the various San Blas Islands, in one room in one of their top-secret official meetings. We shared with them our goal and dream to give back to this community as individuals and with the shoe business, and that we wanted them to support us and help us when we sent stuff to them or when we come back to help. I was nervous because the Silos were very serious when our statement was being translated, but they responded warmly and they are excited and proud we want to help them and fully support us. They wrote us a letter so it is all official; we are really on our way to making a change!

Natalia and I were ecstatic! We went back to our cabana and celebrated with all our friends. Natalia had brought a suitcase full of things to give away to the people, like pencils, shoes and toys, so we happily spent the rest of our day distributing our goods to the people on the island.

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