When Jenny Dunfree, a graduate student in tropical ornithology, is banished to a remote, Panamanian-sponsored birding project near the Columbian border, she is given one directive by her superior: Don't piss anyone off. Almost immediately, Jenny encounters problems with this assignment. The study site where she's sent to observe nesting harpy eagles is located near an indigenous village, and upon arrival she's informed that her attendance is mandatory at many community functions. Jenny finds the native Kuna people to be a prickly lot, quick to take offense; their values, language, and customs incomprehensible to her. Equally confusing is the surrounding rainforest with its myriad of unknown and impossible to identify species. Her bewilderment extends even to the nesting eagles which the project's founder, a prominent raptor authority, insisted were rare harpy eagles but as far as Jenny can tell are a lesser species qof no interest to the Republic of Panama or any other national entity.q With no option out, Jenny slogs on with the research and her required attendance at weekly qtown hallq meetings in the Kuna village. Jenny's liaison with the native people is Pedro, a man whose early education at a mission school left him fluent in English but cynical and detached from his own culture. As weeks pass, Jenny becomes acquainted with other members of the community: Eulogio, the handsome and charismatic leader; shy Iris who married and then was abandoned by Jenny's predecessor in the harpy eagle project; the racially prejudiced Anselmo; and Ceferino, in whom Jenny discovers a shared passion for the natural world. In this lawless frontera, Jenny also encounters outsiders with their own agendas for the Kunas and the surrounding rainforest. Through her eyes, the reader is drawn into Kuna culture and its struggle to retain a traditional identity in the face of erosion from both outside and within the community.When Jenny Dunfree, a graduate student in tropical ornithology, is banished to a remote, Panamanian-sponsored birding project near the Columbian border, she is given one directive by her superior: Dona#39;t piss anyone off.
|Title||:||Seducing the Spirits|
|Publisher||:||Permanent Press (NY) - 2009|