Boyd Panorama
White20x10px  Skip Navigation Links : Kuna Indians : Life of the Kuna Indians

Skip Navigation Links

Sponsor a child!


Latin America Resource
and Training Center

Life of the Kuna Indians
By Stephanie Boyd

Steph with a group of KunaLast Christmas I had the opportunity to fly to the San Blas Islands to visit the Kuna Indians—one of the indigenous Indian groups of Panama. We took off from Panama City in a small chartered plane and headed north towards the islands. We landed across from the small island called Playon Chico, which literally means "small island". After a short dug-out canoe ride, we arrived to the crowded island.

As I walked down the narrow footpaths on the island I saw small huts on either side. They were made out of palm branches and other materials. I peeked into one of the houses… the floors were made of dirt, sheets hung to give some privacy, and hammocks hanging. Inside sat a mother with a small child. There was something very different about this child, unlike no other I saw. He had very blonde hair and very white skin. I realized then that he was an albino. I had never seen an albino before. It was a shock to see the color contrast in this little boy.

Steph with KunaI continued down the path and one by one the children came. They came to see who this blonde-haired, blue-eyed stranger was. They were so curious! I suddenly felt two hands curl around mine. I looked down to see two little girls looking up at me with a sparkle in their eyes. I couldn’t help but get tears in my eyes as I looked at these girls… barefoot, practically naked. Yet they smiled the most brilliant smiles… they were so happy!

Steph and Rod in a cayucoI wondered why they were happy as I looked around the island. They had nothing. Their island was nothing more than thatched huts and dirty sand with a few scattered palm trees. What kind of life was that? Then I realized that this was their life… it was all they knew. I was so honored to spend those few moments with them and to see how these wonderful people lived. I’m thankful that we have a church on the island that is preaching the gospel. My visit reminded me that things aren’t really that important.