Panama – the Naso tribe – by Johannes

johannesThe smell of ripe bananas and sweet cacao in your nose. The noise of chicken, dogs and horses in your ears. The feeling of dirt between your toes and the rain coming through your wet clothes on your skin. The sight at a green area of flowers and trees and of course at different animals like humming-birds and monkeys. Those are the impressions which the Naso Tribe have in the rainforest.
The Naso Indians are very proud of their origin and their reserve in the rainforest for which they fought for a long time against the government of Panama! There are 12 communities of the tribe reigned by a king who takes important decisions and is the representative for politicians or famous people who visit the Naso.
Their land is located near a large river which is the most important way of transport and the connection between the further located villages around it. They travel the river on their single-tree-boats which are made of – how the name says- one tree after a long time of work.
An amazing feeling! Water at your jacket and feet, the wind in your face and the wish of getting faster and faster. It is pretty cool sitting in one of them and making a tour from one community to the other while watching the nature. You see many different colours of flowers, big and small animals like aunts and monkeys. There are insects in different sizes that are in most of the cases pretty ugly, especially when one of them flies in your face, sits on your shoulder or bites in your feet. You need a few people to grab around the trunk of one of the trees that are a few hundred years old.
The contrast between tradition and modern times is quite great in the tribe. Chicken, dogs, ducks and many other animals are running around the houses built of wood and corrugate iron roofs. The small tracks that are made of concrete look like hiking paths in comparison with our highways in Germany. The water comes from mountains deep in the forest and goes after using through little streams back into a river.
But the times of drinking out of bamboo cups and plates made of special nuts are over.
Things like Wifi and W-Lan haven’t still been installed in all houses, but it won’t take much time until you have access to the internet in the middle of the rainforest. It seems quite crazy to us, but we all are profiting of new technologies like smart phones and laptops that are getting faster and more comfortable.
The youth are holding mobiles in their hands and are chatting all the time with their friends and American football and soccer are the most popular sports.
And so we were looking forward to a football game between us KUSis and the Naso Indians.
Both sides try to give their best in twice 20 minutes with a break of 10 minutes between the two parts. It was a lot of fun to play with them, especially the runs from one point to the other. On the ship running is not possible because of the small space so all of us liked running as fast as we could and the feeling of the ground under our feet. Goal for goal! The weather was perfect and it was not that hot that afternoon so all wanted to play longer than the regular time or better not end kicking the ball. In the end the tribe was the winner of the match! But we weren’t sad about losing the game! We all were happy about playing with them and had fun.
It was great to get an impression of the life of the Naso Indians, experiencing the rainforest and the way of survival under simple conditions as it was for the old generations of the Naso tribe. That such a tribe is still alive and tries to survive in spite of the cutting down of the rainforest is amazing. Everyone who gets a chance to make such an experience should take it! It’s awesome!