Category Archives: Panama Canal

For the purposes of this site, we often make reference to the Panama Canal finished by the Americans (1904-1914), as the Panama Canal was really begun by the French in 1880.

Special for Fathers’s Day- Houston Association of Panamanians

Flyer, A Salute to the Father’s

We are passing this announcement from our friends  from HAP – The Houston Association of Panamanians, Inc. along to our readers in anticipation of Father’s Day next month.  If any of you plan to be in Texas and the Houston area next month, don’t miss it.  Thank you Marva Layne (HAP President) for sending us this news.

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The New Locks of the Panama Canal- Nothing Like What Our Grandfathers Achieved

This is an image of a portion of the Pacific side locks.  They look like a siv

This is an image of a portion of the new Pacific side locks. Honestly it looks like a sieve.

This is my grandfather, Joshua Austin Reid.  From his Pan Canal work recod "badge" photo, 1919.

This is my grandfather, Joshua Austin Reid. From his Pan Canal work recod “badge” photo, 1919.  He was one of the Jamaican Bosses.

By now most of us, both here in Panama and abroad, have been witness to the shameful images of the shoddy workmanship done on the “completed” new locks of the widened Panama Canal by the GUPC (Grupos Unidos por el Canal), a project valued at 4, 357 million dollars (almost 4 and a half billion dollars). I cannot help but reflect on the incomparable work of our ancestors, the black West Indian workmen, who worked tirelessly under the strict supervision of their American employers to complete the particularly demanding work on the Canal locks just about 101 years ago. Continue reading

Rass Not Spoken Here!

Making light of the scramble for the Metro of Panama money.

Making light of the scramble for the Metro of Panama money.

Rass
1.West Indian term referring to the behind.
2.Can also be a word used to enhance any sentence.
3.Used when angry
urban dictionary

A short while ago, not only I but a roomful of visitors to the University of Panama received a cold and rather unfriendly “welcome” to a poetry recital of sorts in which I had been invited to participate. I was summarily cut off from my recitation of a poem I composed using the English of my grandfathers. What followed was a litany of “Spanish Only” poetic voices, much to my outrage and chagrin. Even our audience, full of distinguished people from all parts of the Caribbean and the U.S.A. were sternly put wise that they were in a Spanish speaking country and being hosted by a monolingual university. At least, that was how we were made to feel. I could not hang around and listen to the rest of the hypocritical blah, blah that followed. Continue reading

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

The Year

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We want to take this moment to wish you all a very prosperous and health filled New Year for 2015!  Thank you, our valued readers, for supporting us and our cause and especially for your feedback which we prize highly.

Louis Emanuel, one of our contributing poets, has shared another poem with us; this time his verses recap the highly eventful year of 2014 which we have lived in Panama.  Enjoy! Continue reading