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A Visit to Panama

A Visit to Panama

PANAMA is perhaps best known for its canal—a waterway that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But because it connects North and South America, Panama also links people. It is home to a variety of races and cultures. A large percentage of the population come from a mix of indigenous and European ancestry.

DID YOU KNOW? The Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) “waves” its limbs to attract prospective mates and warn rivals

In 1501, when Spanish explorers arrived in Panama, they found numerous indigenous societies, some of which still exist. One of these is the Guna (previously called Kuna). Many of the Guna live in the indigenous sector of the San Blas Archipelago and along the Caribbean Coast near the border between  Panama and Colombia. There, they hunt, fish in dugout canoes, and grow their own food.

In Guna society, when a man marries, he goes to live with his wife’s extended family and works for them. If in time his wife gives birth to a daughter, he and his family will be able to move away from his in-laws and establish a household of their own.

There are about 300 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Panama. Besides Spanish, meetings are held in Chinese, English, Gujarati, Guna, Haitian Creole, Ngabere, and Panamanian Sign Language.