- El cayuco, ulu
All the Gunadules travel among their islands and fish by using a hand-built dugout canoe, called cayuco in Spanish and ulu in Dulegaya. All men, women, and children are expert sailors and handlers. Each canoe is made from a single tree trunk, hollowed out by hand. The hardwood comes from the mainland. The old Guna used timber trees of binnuwar (wild cashew or espavé), gao-banwar (mahogany), urwar (cedar), nugnuwar (kapok). They carved cayucos of different sizes and shapes: canoes for rivers, cayucos with a keel for sailing trips, small boats for fishing, or for medicinal baths (inaulu).
It's an expensive, essential resource: it can cost approx. 500 US dollars and is a worthwhile expense for every Guna family as it ensures not just autonomy, but survival. You can find miniatures cayucos both as baby's toys and grave goods, placed next to the corpse as a means of transport for the journey to the abode of Baba-Nana.
According to the traditional Guna religion, the world was created by Babdummad (Baba Dummad) y Nandummad (Nana Dummad), el Gran Padre y la Gran Madre (the Great Father and the Great Mother), united as Baba-Nana, the Great Spirit who keeps in balance all the living creatures and continue to keep watch over everyone’s daily actions.
«Al inicio todo era oscuro. Una oscuridad tan tensa, como si le apretaran a uno los ojos con dos manos. No había sol, no había luna, no habían nacido las estrellas. Entonces Bab Dummad [Baba] se dispuso a crear la tierra, [y] Nan Dummad [Nana] se dispuso a crear la tierra.
Cuando Baba formó a la Madre Tierra, encendió también el sol, la luna y las estrellas. Baba irradió la tierra, Baba alumbró el rostro de la madre. La tierra fue imagen y rastro que habló de la presencia de Baba, de la presencia de Nana. La Madre Tierra tomó los siguientes nombres: Ologwadiryai, Olodil'lilisob, Ologwadule, Oloiitirdili, Napgwana, Nana Olobipirgunyay». (Aiban Wagua, 2000, see Bibliography).
(At the beginning, there was darkness. A darkness so thick that all looked the same as when you press your hands on both eyes. There was no sun, no moon, and no stars were born. Then Bab Dummad [Baba] set out to create the land, [and] Nan Dummad [Nana] set out to create the land.
When Baba formed Mother Earth, he also lit the sun, the moon and the stars. And he illuminated the Mother Nature's face. The earth is therefore an image and a trace that spoke of Baba's presence, of Nana's presence. Mother Earth was given the following names: Ologwadiryai, Olodil'lilisob, Ologwadule, Oloiitirdili, Napgwana, Nana Olobipirgunyay).
Bana-Nana created the Mother Earth and gave her many names, including that of Nabgwana. The old sages (sailagan) sing that Baba-Nana before sending the first human being (Wago) to earth, created all plants, rivers, animals, and trees, created the air and the wind to make Nabgwana habitable, welcoming, generous. That's why Wago recognizes all living beings as his brothers.