by Lydia M. Reid
The following article by Claretta F. Prescott, one of the editors over at the Rainbow City High School Newsletter, was highly descriptive of the dynamic figure of Carmela Lorraine Lowe de Gobern- known as Carm to her multitude of friends. Although the article was written in 2007, Mrs. Gobern has helped us in updating some of the information.
Carm is a shining example of the intelligence, drive and unrelenting perseverance of the Silver People of Panama, and she has marked out a well deserved place in our “Living Cultural Treasures” as a trailblazer.
“The name Carmela Lowe de Gobern is synonymous with Editor of the Panama Cyberspace News, a unique on-line publication which celebrate its tenth anniversary on March 1, 2010. Carmela retired in 1998 from the Panama Canal Commission, having served this U.S. federal agency for over 28 years, first as a clerk in the Supply Division, then as a protocol assistant in the Office of the Governor and subsequently as a liaison officer.
Following her retirement from the Panama Canal Commission, she worked as a writer/editor for The Tropic Times, a former U.S. Military newspaper based in the Canal Zone, until the closing of the military bases in 1999. Although retired, Carmela is even more active now than in previous years. In addition to being the writer/editor of the Panama Cyberspace News, she is involved in many other activities:
As an active member of the Rio Abajo Methodist Church, she also serves as the assistant organist and children’s story time teller. She has served as the Secretary of Admissions of the Society of La Sociedad de Amigos del Museo Afroantillano de Panamá (SAMAAP) for more than 19 years.
She has served as MC and guest speaker for several cultural activities and has given seminars to various groups and institutions in addition to having served as an etiquette consultant for many years.
She is the editor of the Panama Calendar, a 25-year-old benefit project, which supports various charities. From 1981 she has been a freelance journalist, having authored the newspaper column “Tips on Etiquette” which was published in The Star and Herald and The Panama American Newspapers. She has served as MC and guest speaker for several cultural activities and has given seminars to various groups and institutions in addition to having served as an etiquette consultant for many years.
Together with her husband, they work as a team in promoting Panama through their CyberNews and its Web site, the Panama Calendar and by sponsoring several excursions throughout the entire Republic of Panama (including three trips to the province of Darien, “a path less traveled.”
Her family (the Lowe-Gobern-Goodins) introduced the Kwanzaa celebration in Panama in the year 1994 and she has been involved in the organization of this annual celebration for the past 16 years
Carmela has received several public recognitions for her efforts in attempting “to make the world a better place than she found it.” She was: honored by the Alcaldía de Panamá” in May 2006; honored by the “Grupo Folklórico de Panamá en Washington” (GRUFOLPAWA) at the Ninth Panamanian Folkloric Encounter in Washington, DC in September 2005; honored by The Methodist Connection of the Rio Abajo Methodist Church in 1989; honored by the “Sociedad de Amigos del Museo Afroantillano de Panamá” (SAMAAP) in 1992; awarded the Silver Medal of the Panama Honorary Public Service Award in 1987.
Carmela has been married to “Bocatoreño” Alonso Gobern for 35 years. She describes Alonso as the “wind beneath her wings, “because”…as she puts it: “in addition to being supportive in all my ventures. Alonso motivates and encourages us so that together we can meet greater challenges.” Alonso and Carmela are the parents of three children: Kajali (a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Ecuador), Nailah (Master’s, University of Maryland) and Jamila (a Senior Airman in the U.S. Air Force).
Carmela holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from the University of the State of New York at Albany, January 22, 1985. She is also a 1974 graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Public Speaking and Human Relations.
Carmela enjoys sharing with others, especially the less fortunate and she strives to live by The Golden Rule, which comes from the Bible: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.’ Matthew 7:1.”