The Chocó people live in the Darién Jungle on both sides of the border between Panama and Colombia. Indig- enous people make up circa 10% of the population of Panama. In Colombia indigenous people make up circa 1% of the total population.
Colombia’s population is very diverse – circa 58% has mestizo background (indigenous and Europeans), 20% European, 14% European and African background and 3% indigenous and African background.
In this very rainy area the Chocó live in houses built on poles. This is practical because of the frequent floods.
They cultivate many different plants in a specialized form of agriculture. Chocó women have developed basketry to a sought after handicraft. They make baskets for storage of food and other personal property.
For the Chocó balsa sculptures are sacred and have protective powers. The men carve the sculptures and the women decorate them. Already when children are around one year old, they receive balsa dolls where the child’s protective spirit can live.