Embera Quera

There are seven indigenous peoples in Panama.  The Embera tribe is one of the seven.  Various tour companies offer guided visits to Embera communities.  We had gotten to know the assistant manager of one of our hotels.  She recommended visiting the Embera Quera village, even though it would probably be the most expensive tour.  

Supported mostly by tourist dollars, the Embera are able to maintain their lifestyle and culture much the same as it has been for centuries.  This village, on the Gatun River, was started 11 years ago by 6 families that broke away from a group on the Chagres 
River.  The village now has 26 families with a total population of 86.

Our tour guide met us at our hotel and drove us north for about an hour.  We were met at the river by two Embera men in a dugout canoe.  They proceeded to take us down the river to the Embera Quera village.
Along the way, a spider monkey hopped aboard our canoe.  Our guides held a banana for him. That probably had something to do with the visit.

Upon arrival at the village, we were greeted by most of the villagers with handshakes and music.

One source of revenue for the village is their handicrafts.  A demonstration of some of these was given in one of their thatched roof structures.  The handicrafts include jewelry, baskets and wood carvings.  

The materials for the baskets are dyed bright colors with dyes from local plants.  

The wood for the carvings is cocobolo.
One of the elders of the Embera Quera gave us a tour of their village and the surrounding property.  He pointed out various plants and the uses of each.
This is the one room school.  Early schooling is done here.  Later, the students go to Colon or another nearby city to further their education.
The tour culminated with a dance demonstration and a lunch.  The lunch consisted of fruit, fried tilapia and fried plantain.  The fish and plantain were served in a folded plantain leaf.