Tell me about the people.Well, the people here are all really humble and kind. Do you remember me talking about a Kuna family in Cinuentenario? The guy named A...? His family lives here and I met them. His aunt is making me a mola tie. On this island and the other 3 islands of my area, it is all a tourist economy. Fairly regularly, Americans will come out to our island. In the rest of the province, they farm. They play soccer and the women sew for fun and money.
What is church like?
It is a weird mix of Spanish and Kuna. We had about 50 people show up this week. The building is out over the water. We have a metal roof and deck floors. The chapel is mostly open to everything. On p day we actually hang up a hammock for when we aren´t writing. We exercise in the chapel. It is just wooden deck boards and hurts our feet. We only wear flip flops here. We live about 3 minutes from the church. The chairs in the church are plastic chairs like we would have at the pool. There are lots of kids. We sing without a piano. The kids don´t really sing or anything.
What about showers?
We go to the river and get water every so often and we come back with lots of water. We use a bowl to pour water on ourselves. When we get a spigot, it will be easier.
Do you have a routine for every day?
We have Government 3 times per week and we can´t do anything during that time because all the Kuna have to go. It is called Congress. It starts at 5ish and ends at 8:30ish. It isn´t fun. We can hear most of it because the congress house is in front of our house. We eat dinner and relax during congress. During the rest of the time, we try to get people to give us references or we don´t really teach. We go visit people and see who will listen to us. Most of the island is less actives.
Have you done any service? Have you taught any lessons?
Yeah. We went to the mountains. We went to get the sticks to make someones house. It was easy and we were only there for about an hour. E. McGraw says that it is usually harder. We have taught a couple of lessons, but nothing spectacular. They should come, but they don't. We are working on that. They almost all follow the old Kuna traditions. There is actually a problem for us now because of that. They have a drink called Chicha Fuerte (Strong juice... aka alcohol) they will start
drinking that on the 15th until the 20th and on the 20th, they start a 4 day long congress of the province. They Kuna have totems that they leave in a basket outside when they go in to congress.We don´t have a totem because the Kunas put spirits in them. We figure it is better not to have them.
How small the island?
There are 1000 people in my area. That is the 4 Carti islands. My island, Tupile, only has about 350 people. I have been to 3 of the islands. I am on the second smallest. The smallest only has 80 people. The houses on my islands are pretty close together. There aren´t any wild animals here. I have seen monkeys. They had some when I went to the other island. The only animals on Tupile are pets. There are lots of plants, mostly grass and mango trees. It is really windy and only rains when we are asleep. At night we hear just the waves and the wind. Sleeping in a hammock is easy. Our windows are holes in the cinderblocks walls. Most of the other houses are about the side of our downstairs. They are made of something like bamboo.
How is the language coming?
The language is weird. I can recognize common phrases now. McGraw is the only one that will help me. The thing with Kunas is that they are all super shy.
What is your favorite thing this week?
Well, we went to another island on Tuesday. We used a boat called a panga. It is a really old speed boat. That is how the elders usually travel out here. They have outboard motors anywhere from 8 hp to stuff like the police use. There is a boat out here that the missionaries call the battleship. It is a police boat with 4 motors that are 200 hp each. The trips get interesting. While we were on the other island, a cruise ship pulled up. They send small boats in to bring the tourists to shore. We just started talking to all the American tourists. We think that we met every nonmember from Utah. They all thought that they had gotten away from us, but we were the first thing that they saw on the island. hehe
We ate something called dulemasi. It had chicken, pumpkin, plantain,
yuka, and something like potatoes.