The Embira, Panama
When Katzenstein arrived in Panama City he was struck by how much it reminded me of other up and coming Central American metropolises, with touches of Miami thrown in. He was on assignment for AES, the electric company, and the next phase of my project would be far from traffic and lights. Katzenstein made plans to visit one of their social responsibility projects upstream from their hydroelectric plant located on the Bayano River in the eastern part of the country. His group traveled by motored canoe on a tributary of the Bayano from the plant for 40 minutes to reach a settlement of the Embera people, an indigenous group that AES was working with through their local social responsibility program. They spent the afternoon with the elders and children as they danced ceremoniously for us, shared their local food and hosted us in their thatched homes. As dusk approached they boarded the canoes and began our trip back down the river to their jeeps.
© David Katzenstein / Dashbe