When we were in Panama with Sailing Totem in February, we (of course) had some visits from local Guna people, selling their hand-made molas. These intricately sewn panels feature geometric designs or local cultural references.
We bought 4 of the big ones, including a fascinating cross-cultural piece that features Christian symbols as well as local birds. They have been framed and hung and are often the topic of great conversation.
This one, though, I pull out every day. I use it when I fill the car with gas, go grocery shopping, or pick up lunch out.
It’s my wallet.
I don’t think the Guna traditionally need wallets, so perhaps this, like the larger mola we’ve got hanging, is a cross-cultural piece. It is a melding of traditional folk art with practical, tourist-driven requests. Is it a good thing? Maybe, maybe not.
But I love that I can pull it out and immediately flash to Panama, to a visit from Igua and Floricelda.
Where does your wallet take you?