Saturday, October 12, 2013

Up the Crooked River - Rio Sambu

We had a very interesting day up the river.  There is an Embera tribe up here, one of the 7 indigenous tribes here in Panama.  We walked through their village yesterday, got to go up into the chief's house, bought a couple of hand woven baskets, then walked back to our boat along a very long board walk over a swamp.  About 30 people from the village came out to visit the boat.  We served chips and salsa and lemonade, not such a big hit. We took them back at lunch/nap time and Courage and Loyal revisited the village.  They got a different tour and saw where they grow their bananas, papayas, and oranges.  Then they returned with another 30 (some repeats) from the village.  We served popcorn and water and they seemed to love it!!

Their houses are made of wood plank floors, raised up one story off the ground, thatch roofs, many don't have any walls, some do.  They worried about the kids; our kids would walk to the end of the floor and look over the edge.  It is a full story fall from there (5-7 feet).  They don't have beds; they just sleep on the floor.  The kitchen has pots/pans, but the stove is a 5x5 square of sand on the floor where they can make a fire to cook.  They were pounding the husks off the rice with a gavel type tool, and then had it lying out on mats to dry.  There is a long trail to the village, which is very well maintained grass with trees along each side.  There were banana plantations along the side of the trail and I did see an orange tree in town.  Chickens are running around and they are on the river to catch fish.  I didn't see any food in the houses, so not sure where they keep it or how that works.  Maybe the chief's house is a daytime only house and not set up for full living??  I really don't know.

There are mosquitoes and chiggers here.  We keep our netting on our door and windows and seem to be doing well so far.  Today we are going to the last house in the settlement for some traditional foods.  Tomorrow I think Courage and I will go to a long hike to a great overlook over the river, valleys and village. 

From what we hear, we will likely have many people out to the boat again today also.  Made some banana bread last night to bring with us as a gift for the people that host us.  Looking forward to another interesting day.  Of course getting some interesting pictures that we hope to post in the near future.