Before setting out on our kayak expedition to circumvent the Darien Gap, it was necessary for us to receive the blessings of the Kuna Yala congress. We would have to meet with the Central Indigenous leadership that presides over Tourist activity in the Kuna Territory – a section of Panamanian Caribbean Coast that stretches from the San Blas Island chain to the Frontier of Colombia.
Luckily we had befriended Nemesio: a native of the Kuna Yala, a veteran Kayak guide of the San Blas Islands, and a businessman accustomed to negotiating with the Kuna General Congress. Nemesio already had scheduled an appointment with the Congress to discuss matters relating to his Solar-panel installation business, and had no trouble coupling our petition onto the same visit.Â Â
Our appointment was for one-oâ€™clock sharp but we rolled into the secretarial offices a little after two.
â€œThe Congress is at lunch.â€� Asserted a grave faced secretary.
I assumed from her tone that the legislative body suffered the burden of a bloated agenda and wouldnâ€™t have time to reschedule. And yet within seconds we were summoned into an upstairs office to present our case.