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.
By Louis Emanuel
As a term of endearment, so crafted to be
An Italian sailor, who lost his sails at sea
Encountered a land, which in fact seemed
To be west of India, so did history decree.
Many sailors alit from three ships, the crew
A cute young lass sighted, there in plain view
Columbus summoned her, some say it’s untrue
“Ven aca mi Chomba” a friendly word used.
Centuries elapsed, thus Panama was created
Men ventured to that land, readily and unshaken
A railroad, the canal, toiled by Westindian natives
Their earnest contributions, historically degraded.
Then Chombo morphed into a despicable term
Towards a people their descendants, whom came
To help build a country, which is now not the same
By a canal which provides, untold wealth and fame.
A number of our young, has so often refrained
To speak their parents’ language, being ashamed
Of their ancestry, in the past when laws declaimed
Silver people their labor, being visibly disdained.
Yes! “Chombo” they say I am, and will readily admit
If the meaning of such word, has a context that fits
The heritage that labored, on this canal that was built
A wonder of our world, for a infinite number of ships.