Category Archives: Beji-Nite-Church

Looking for Work

Eric Turner would show up the next few days after disappearing for days and relate to me how he had been at the local piers working making a few bucks. “ I didn’t know that about getting work at the piers or the Muelle Fiscal was a way to also get work Eric?” I said as we walked and conversed. He would relate to me how a couple of strong young men would eternally hang out at the pier and, when the boats came in from Bocas or other Provinces, they would need them to help unload merchandise and even the travelers’ luggage from the vessels. Continue reading

The Emotional Ghosts

This is how my grandmother seemed to me, ghostly-
there but not for me-
and certainly no bulwark against the hostilities of life.

While sitting in class I couldn’t help but reflect on how I was surrounded by extremes especially at home- indifference on the one hand and a battering reaction to my person on the other. Continue reading

Ancestors, the Divine Creator and Us

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.
Publisher, Journalist, Activist
and Africanist. He is also of the
ONH (Order of National Hero) in Jamaica.
Image: wikipedia

The idea that included us, the living, united with our African ancestry was for me revolutionary indeed, and it started to clarify things for me much later. It was then and only then that I became involved with my African-nessContinue reading

African Derived Spiritual Home and Schooling


It has always been my belief that the lack of that ingrained sense of a cultural heritage in us Panamanian Westindians has been due to the missing factor of home and schooling. Home schooling had always been an integral part of our make-up in the early years of our history, however as that marvel of the world the Panama Canal evolved, the issue of our home becoming part of our cultural and spiritual lesson plan became less important or non existent. Continue reading

Life’s Equation Solved by African Derived Religion

A painting of a Kumina ceremony.
Image: mydancing.com

Recalling Mother Campbell I’ll just back up a little bit. Shortly after arriving in Panama from what at the time had been my honeymoon trip, I found myself showing up at the door of Mother Campbell in Rio Abajo. She, even at that time after many years had passed without hearing from me in the United States, remembered me, whom she had known since I was a child. I had always admired her for always carrying an authoritative demeanor as the “Madame” I had known since I was about eight years of age and whose church was a frequent stop for my grandmother and me. Continue reading

The African Tradition of the Matriarch Queen

A True Matriarch. Image


The African-derived religions of our childhood in Panama, the religion we Westindians referred to as
Beji-Nite, in particular, I would later encounter in my research of extracts of religions practised in ancient times in certain regions of Central Africa. It would then be safe for me to conclude that it is an ancient African tradition for women to take on the role of intermediary with the Spirits for the protection of their family, the clan, and, in fact, the general environment. Continue reading