Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shopping for Molas


I've been carrying my new mola tote with me every day since returning from Panama.  It took me awhile to find the perfect bag, but the bright yellow grabbed my attention immediately.  I liked the woman I bought it from, too.  She was not pushy.  An aura of calm surrounded her.  I handed her a twenty dollar bill and she nodded.  We didn't exchange a single word.  I wanted to hug her!  I had been poked, prodded and pushed around by over-aggressive vendors all morning long.  I was hot and tired and anxious, thinking that I would go home empty-handed.  And regret it.
These colorful blocks of embroidery, called "molas", are made by the Kuna women from the San Blas Islands of Panama.  They use them as decorative panels in the front and back of their blouses.  Worn with a wrapped skirt, a red and yellow headscarf and arm and leg beads, the entire costume has come to symbolize their culture.  

I bought my bag from a Kuna Indian marketplace in Panama City.  The women take turns operating the stalls, going back and forth to the islands every two weeks.  It is a cooperative market that benefits the entire community.  I watched them hand stitch the pieces of cotton together, admiring their patience and their artistry.

It's going to be a souvenir I will treasure forever.  


Sharing this post with fellow bloggers on Patti's ever delightful Visible Monday.

6 comments:

  1. That is a wonderful bag - and the print is so cheery. I also love the story of you purchasing it without a word! Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday.

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    1. And thank you, Patti, for your support. Becoming "visible" continues to stress me out a bit!

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  2. So colorful! I love the bag, I have something similar I took to every beach vacations I had.. ethnic chic at its best!

    REGARDS FROM DUBAI xxx
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.ae/

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  3. I am also a Mimi & enjoy your blog - I am nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award; you can see more here:http://inmyprimetime.blogspot.com/
    All the best! Mimi

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    1. Nice to meet you, Mimi! And what an honor to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you so much.

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  4. What wonderful travel photos, and I understand why you love that yellow bag.You have lots of neutrals, don't you? And minimalist patterns? Perfect!
    You look great, BTW, in your travel togs ... not precisely local, but surely not turista, either!

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