It’s the heat of the afternoon, just under 100 degrees and 88% humidity. I sit cross legged on the rough mahogany floor 8 feet off the ground in the small round, palm thatched pole house of Wounaan basket maker Lolea Mejla. She smiles gently and draws a steel needle through the rim of her basket with elegant regularity. There is an aura of peacefulness and yet determination. Nine other Wounaan women also sit cross-legged around the perimeter of this house; the conversation slowed as I entered. There are both giggles and focused work. Each woman holds a basket in progress; four also hold sleeping infants. Drifting through the damp air are the mixed sounds of chickens, wild birds, distant barking thin dogs, and the continual chip, chip, chip of men with chisels on cocobolo or mahogany. A bit of smoke wafts up from a nearly dead cooking log. It carries the heavier sweetness of banana, coconut, and plantain. I am in the village of Rio Hondo in the Panamanian jungle.