A Digger’s Story

Contractor's Hill about 1910.  The breaking down of this massive piece of solid rock was a tremendous and dangerous undertaking and the black, West Indian Silvermen met the challenge.  The image is thanks to the Library of Congress.

Contractor’s Hill about 1910. The breaking down of this massive piece of solid rock was a tremendous and dangerous undertaking and the black, West Indian Silvermen met the challenge. The image is thanks to the Library of Congress.

The poem we are honored to post today is about the memories that many of the Silvermen preferred not to remember, much less recount. But, Louis Emanuel, our friend and resident poet – and chronicler- has a sharp recall for the accounts his grandfather rendered of the perils he and his companions encountered as part of the digging backbone of the Silver Roll work crews in the early construction days of the Panama Canal.  Continue reading

Mashup

My beloved Auntie Berenice Charles, 1912-2005

My beloved Auntie Berenice Charles, 1912-2005

Although passed on to Glory now since 2005, my beloved Auntie Berenice, who worked on the Panama Canal Zone as a maid and, finally, a cook, all her life, never leaves my side at my writing desk. It was from her that I learned about the Westindians of Panama and grew to love and understand our English patois.  Continue reading

The Panamanian Retirees’ Breakfast Club- More Insights

As promised, we’re providing our readers with another opportunity to examine additional pages from the unique journal published by The Panamanian Retirees’ Breakfast Club. We’re encouraged to do this labor of “Love,” in fact, due to the enthusiastic readership we are seeing on many of our articles relating to our culture in Panama. This theme has never lost its attraction here in our republic or oversees, however, lately the question regarding racism in Panama has raised constructive discussion about how we blacks of Panama have taken charge and have promoted our own cultural expressions, especially those that we have inherited from our Silver ancestors. Continue reading

Chombo

From our friends at Appalacian State University

Every now and then we receive that age old question, “Where does the word ‘Chombo’ come from?”  We attempted to trace its evolution first from a term meant to identify, to a term meant to offend to, at present, more a term of endearment.  Our article Chombo was our first attempt to explore the evolution of this term which has caused so much hurt and controversy in Panama and abroad.

Today we’re posting yet another poem penned by Mr. Louis Emanuel which we thought worthy to post here especially during Black History Month in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  It’s humorous twist brought a smile to our face and we guarantee that it will raise even more questions in our present world which is more concerned about the rights of corporations than it is about human rights.  I believe it will also invite us to embrace our Chombo-ness!  Please read, enjoy and send us feedback. Continue reading

The Panamanian Retirees’ Breakfast Club

To our esteemed friends and compatriots in Panama and the United States: we have published images from this “Journal” of activities amongst our various generations as a compliment to the “Panamanian Retirees’ Breakfast Club” hoping that other similar groups would leave their mark for the coming generations as we have done now for the past seven years. It was several years ago, when we were starting this work as a collection of blog sites, following them up with Facebook groups, that friends brought up what we thought were good points as we were going over the lives of our childhood buddies. Some of our friends are still with us and some- too many- have gone on to a better life. Continue reading