Fascinating Embera Tour

By:  Amber Platschorre

Almost finishing the high season I was invited to go on one of the tours from EcoCircuitos: This time I was able to go on the Embera Tour. This tour will take you to an indigenous community and this brought me some memories that I will cherish the rest of my life.

We departed from the Gamboa Rainforest Resort to drive to Chagres National Park to enter the boats. Upon arrival at the boat entrance, I met some people of the Embera community that would take us by boat to their small village. The men were dressed in colourful skirts or they were just wearing a loincloth. Although they speak their own language, I  understood immediately that they had lots of fun about my height and my blond hair. These people are so friendly and very proud to show us their small village.

The boat trip was an adventure on its own. We werefloating in long tail canoes that took us through the rain wood. Sometimes the water was so low that the men had to push the canoe through the water to continue our journey. During the boat trip we saw some amazing birds and some of us saw a crocodile. We enjoyed the beautiful nature of this area and enjoyed the boatride through the river. The community will make sure that you feel comfortable during your trip.

Once arrived, the community greeted us their own cultural way. They were making music for us and everyone was playing an instrument. Even the little kids were greeting us their original way which made us feel warm and welcome. The guide Fabio explained us about the village and how the huts were build. Furthermore he told us about the nature, the people and their culture. Wehad the opportunity to take a look around at the village and enjoy the friendliness of the community. Furthermore there were some handcrafts for sale and communicate a bit with the community.

The community gave us a presentation about their culture, their way of living and their norms and values, all translated by the guide Fabio. Furthermore they showed us their typical customs and I got inked with Jagua. Thisblack inked is coming from plants that are growingin that area and it will stay on for more or less 2 weeks. The Embera will paint you with this Jagua and you will have a temporarily souvenir.

During the presentation lunch was served. Lots of fresh fruit, platano and fish was served. It was delicious. It think it tasted that good because it was made by the Embera community with care and love. After lunch the Embera women performed their traditional dance and invitedus to dance with them as well. The men played their instruments and it was great to be interactive witha community that is so different from the life style that I am living. I don’t speak their language and they don’t speak my language but we did understand each other.

Furthermore the oldest man from the community and besides that the chief of the community, took us for a shorthike in the rainforest to his medical garden. He explained us about these plants in this garden and he told us thathe has been helping lots of people because of his medical plants. It was very fascinating to listen to his stories and we were able to smell and taste some of his plants. Finally we returned by boat under good care of the Embera to the entrance of Chagres National Park and saidgoodbye to the people of the community. We could not stop waving to each other when we finally drove a way to Panama City. These people will stay in my memory forever.

For more information about the Embera tour, contact EcoCircuitos directly.  www.ecocircuitos.com

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