Tag Archives: Panamanian West Indian writers

Reminiscences of a Colon Bway (con´t)

chritmas treeWe hope you enjoy Tito Johnson´s memories of Colon as much as we have.  Here is Part II.

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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

The Razor Blade Haircut

Of course, this is a modern image of a black barbershop in the U.S. but, notice the planks in the background barber seats- "The Kiddie Chairs."  Image

Of course, this is a modern image of a black barbershop in the U.S. but, notice the plank in the background barber seat- “The Kiddie Chair.” Image

The story, or rather, the account, you are about to read was written by Daniel Webster, better known on the web as Ocho Gritos, posted on Facebook on 6 September on our Afro Heritage of Panama (Facebook) Group. With his permission we’ve decided to share it with you, our readers, to preserve some of the memories of the Silver People of the Black Zone. ***

The other day, I wrote on Facebook about getting a hair cut with a razor blade, and a young man commented he had never heard of this. I recognized his family but also realized he would be too young to know about this cultural aspect of black Zonian life. I grew up in Rainbow City what today is Ciudad Arco Iris. Mr. Brooms was our family barber going back generations. Continue reading

Poetic Tribute to the Silver People – Part 3


West Indian workers arriving in Panama aboard the “Cristobal.” Image is property of the ACP.

Before we bid farewell to the month of August during this year of remembrance, we wanted to post the last two poems written by our contributing poet, Mr. Louis Emanuel.  They sum up vividly how many of us felt years ago and even today.  As he put it in his message to us, “Many of us can relate to this…” Continue reading

Poetic Tribute to the Silver People – Part 2

This photo is of a derailment at Bas Obispo in 1886- the French Railroad days. Note the Jamaican workers - See more at: http://thesilverpeoplechronicle.com/2007/02/jamaican-workers-on-american.html#sthash.hj31A3gz.dpuf

This photo is of a derailment at Bas Obispo in 1886- the French Railroad days. Note the Jamaican workers.

Here are two more poems by Mr. Louis Emanuel during this period of recognition to our Silver ancestors.

The Train

This railroad was built, many years ago
In the US this idea, was concocted as known
To move gold from west, to northeastern shores
Crisscrossing the isthmus, since then until now.

History recalls, those contractors of yore
Imported Asiatics, as the labour force
Not adapted to the harsh, tropical woes
Many perished, escaped, hid, who knows.

The railroad company, desperate for men
To Jamaica they went, and hired right then
Whom brought this venture, to an early end
The trains are rolling, right round’ the bend.

While awash in nostalgia, I have often recalled
Many miles of tracks, from Colon to Panama
Steam engine in tow, and passenger cars for all.
Thus I ponder, why such things had to pass.

No longer the transport, for many ingots of gold
Nor for our Diggers, from the great ditch, of old
Diesel engines, haul containers, stacked twofold
The leisure cars can be pricey, so I have been told.


An ode to the men, whom came to Panama as the main
labor force to build the world’s seventh wonder, The
Panama Canal. And whilst doing so perished leaving
behind their wives, mothers children, and loved ones.


The land is parched, sugarcane won’t grow
On this island, the economy is very slow
My husband’s earnings, so abysmally low
I am with child, which he is soon to know.

He paces the fields daily, and is very sad
And vies for work, earning whatever he can
Contractor work, in some faraway land
As a last resort, is shrouding his plans.

My darling husband, please do not leave
I am carrying our child, consider my plea
You must be here, when I do conceive
To greet our firstborn, honey, let it be.

One dreary morning, I rush to the dock
Men boarding a ship, waving nonstop
My dearest husband, is amidst the lot
I prayed Lord, please bring them back.

His letters I cherish, so often each month
The earnings sent home, begins to mount
Our child in waiting, soon to be born
The days seems as years, since he’s gone.

Received that letter, on a sad gloomy day
My beloved, will no longer, come my way
He was blown to bits, on Contractor Hill
Dynamite explosion, many Diggers killed.

I screamed, cried out loud, this is not true
He promised to return home, so very soon
Then I prayed, Father in the heavens above
To bless, comfort him, with thy eternal love.

Louis Emanuel