Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 2: Canoe Transfer to BriBri Community

Canoeing up the River
After a 3 hour drive and a 2 hour canoe ride up the river, we finally reached the remote BriBri Indian Reserve. Located along the border of Costa Rica and Panama, the community of about 200 lives in isolation. 
Several members of the community came to greet us and we started our trek up a steep hill to the village huts. We had a lovely traditional lunch that included rice, beans, chicken and fried plantains. 
Once lunch was over, we were taken on a tour of the community. We saw the school, the community center, the cocao fields, and even had a run-in with a snake! After the tour was over, we had a lesson in the traditional practice of archery. It was definitely harder than it looked! The men of the tribe made it seem so easy, but none of us could "catch the fruit" hanging from the tree. 
During dinner, we learned about the history of the tribe. The BriBri are a matriarchal community, which means that the women are the ones that make most of the important decisions and are the heads of their families, which makes this the perfect service destination for WINS. We ate dinner in the main hut where the kitchen was located and experienced how dark it can get at night. At around 6 pm, the community becomes pitch dark, lit only by a couple of candles. During dinner, small grasshoppers and other insects jumped onto the dinner table and onto our laps. Even though it was terrifying at first, we soon became accustomed to the sound and movement of the insects all around us. After that delicious dinner, we went to our huts to sleep and prepare for the long day of service ahead of us. 

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