Category Archives: West Indian Panamanians

Battling Disappointment

Seemed like disappointments surrounded me.

At this point it occurred to me many times to leave Panama City and go back to Bocas to work for the United Fruit Company. However, I remained in my old Twenty Five Street neighborhood to make sure I could be located for the long awaited teaching assignment. Continue reading

The Mysterious Letter

Image of mystery letter thanks to

Image of mystery letter thanks to

As  Ma Bea handed me the mystery missive from my father she then continued saying, “You write ya fada chile, For I have this letter a long time and Albert he keep telling me he could not find you no where. You write to ya fada, you hear!” She implored making me become the sole witness to a part of my life that I had sooner forget than rush into. I, however, would listen to that saintly woman, who had witnessed the opening of paths in my life and I would have never disregard what she had been saying to me. Continue reading

A Visit to Old Ma Bea

"Grandma's Hands" by Ernie Barnes and Afro American artist reminds me of Ma Bea. Image

“Grandma’s Hands” by Ernie Barnes and Afro American artist reminds me of Ma Bea. Image

By then all I could remember of Ma Bea was that she was Albert’s mother,” and how she had always said to me, “Albert not home son!” For me she was the only one who could find Albert, or tell him that I had been looking for him. I remembered how I used to pester her about finding Albert to have him look over my art home work before I handed it in to my third year Art professor at Instituto.  Albert Santerbury was my favorite person at the time ever since I could remember being a little tadpole. In fact, he and the rest of my neighbors from San Miguel, were all proud when I attended secondary school at the National Institute, and they especially glowed with pride in our neighborhood when I marched in the large musical band on patriotic holidays. Continue reading

News From Albert Scanterbury

Advertising was in a primitive state in the late 50's in Panama. With his sign painting skills, however, Albert Scanterbury kept very busy with local business.

Advertising was in a primitive state in the late 50’s in Panama. With his sign painting skills, however, Albert Scanterbury kept very busy with local business.

I was was soon to receive a letter from my father from Brooklyn by way of my old friend and neighbor Albert Scanter bury- But more importantly for me was how that letter would become an answer to my prayer. I had long ago stopped having much to do with Pug; we had been separated for a while and, to tell the truth, my immediate preoccupation was my garage job and how I needed to secure a place to live alone on my own and find a way of getting my nourishment in the mornings.  Continue reading

Island Hopping by Canoe

Image is from our friends at

Image is from our friends at

Our first stop was an island where this man with a heavy Westindian accent landed us since he sat behind me steering the small craft around the watery road he seemed to know by heart.  At first glance I could tell that it was his pet spot or his “money maker charcoal pit.” I discovered that he made money off making charcoal from the giant mangrove forests on these islands.

After landing he seemed to become a different person or someone that really did not want me to know him fully.  His secretive actions made me become suspicious of his motives right away.  Although I had not really seen anyone in Colon or in Panama make charcoal for cooking purposes, I had lived the early part of my young life close to a neighbor who bought the product to sell to the neighborhood. Continue reading

A New Office Assistant

image thanks to

image thanks to

As I said in my previous post, my two Westindian compañeros ended up assuring me about how they would speak to one of the foremen in charge of housing. These were issues that I really knew nothing about and they quieted my fears with their reassurances. I did, however, explain carefully to them why I hadn’t brought China with me from the very first time I came to seek work, that it had been because she had family in Bocas Town and she was safer there with her people until I was ready to go get her. Continue reading