After being in the San Blas for a several days, the garbage lightened up but the water was still full of tree debris. I grew accustomed to seeing it and enjoyed watching and meeting the Guna people. The kids are tiny and adorable and the people are so good at their crafts — their specialty being molas, like quilted squares made from cut pieces of material layered and stitched together in patterns and some with fine needlework details.
I saw a lot of people out fishing either with nets or fishing lines they held onto, no pole or yoyo. I liked watching them, but I will stick to fishing with my pole.
Hodges from Coco de Mer told all of us about Venacio, the most talented mola maker in the San Blas Islands. He showed up at Blue Moon and they arranged to have him come to Livin’ Life. Everyone came from Slow Flight, Blue Moon, and Coco de Mer so that we could all shop together at the same time. Steve, Jason, and Brita showed up ready to buy.
Venacio laid out all his molas for us to see — and there were a lot! I asked how long it takes him to make them and he said it depended on the amount of detail. They typically ranged from a week to a month. And he had so many! How could he build up this much stock? Did he really stitch it all by hand? It looked perfect enough to be made by a machine.
This was the piece he was currently working on. All the cutting work was complete and now he was doing the needlework and this piece was going to have a lot of needlework. This was a one month mola. We all picked out our favorite pieces and Venacio made a killing off us. He is truly talented, though, and I highly recommend his molas.
Another canoe showed up with a family selling more molas, but also headbands and bracelets.
Brita purchased a bracelet and it was fascinating to watch it be put on her. It was not elastic and had no clasp. It was woven onto Brita’s wrist. So cool, but not an easy on and off piece. The married Guna women cover their arms and legs with these.
The finished product.
Hodges opted for an anklet instead. Brilliant. I should have thought of that, but I had a bracelet put on me.
The Guna family left happy after three women made purchases at one stop. They hit the jackpot.
This was the same couple days later without their daughter. They showed up periodically to look for new cruiser arrivals to sell to. They just row themselves around island to island.
Here is another family in their dug out canoe. The dad is popular amongst the cruisers. He is a hard worker and very affordable, so we hired him to clean our (boat) bottom. Steve hired him to polish his stainless steel and clean his bottom.
The kids were so cute. Steve couldn’t resist buying them sodas. It may not have been the healthiest thing for them, but they enjoyed the treat.
We saw these guys sitting in this motorized boat all day in the blazing hot sun. We didn’t see them fishing and didn’t know why they were just sitting there in the heat. So we grabbed a couple cold drinks and dinghied over. Imagine our surprise to see Venacio sitting there working on his molas. He was still stitching in the detail on the face of the mola pictured earlier. We can vouch for his work being 100% handmade. Besides, they do not have electricity to run a sewing machine, even if they had a sewing machine. Such wonderful talent. Next up, we go ashore on one of the islands for a beach day — a rarity for us — and Jason flies his kite for the first time.