Category Archives: West Indian Panamanians

Eric Turner

 

Eric Turner and I wound up in front of the Gatun Locks hoping to find work.  Image.

Eric Turner and I wound up in front of the Gatun Locks hoping to find work. Image.

I came home from school early one afternoon, after the profesors told us we could leave early because the teachers had a conference meeting in the evening. As I walked to my home apartment, Eric Turner shot out from the living room and hugged me and I was equally surprised to have him there. Eric was Jack Toppin’s nephew. Jack was a local politician in Panama City at the time and he ran for Corregidor and won some years later. Continue reading

Speak Spanish!

Image thanks to thoughtfulindia.com

Image thanks to thoughtfulindia.com

We West Indian Panamanians are remarkable survivors and pretty soon I was socializing freely with the rest of the youth at Abel Bravo giving the school that singular air of Panamanian-ness.  Only in Panama could you find this mixture of people all living and trying to study harmoniously under one roof. That is, until racism would start to rear its ugly head. Continue reading

Rapsodia Antillana: West Indian Panamanian Poetic Voices

Rapsodia Antillana: Selección Bilingüe de Poesía Afroantillana de Panamá. published May 2013 by the University of Panamá Press.

Rapsodia Antillana: Selección Bilingüe de Poesía Afroantillana de Panamá. published May 2013 by the University of Panamá Press.

“Rhapsody: epic poem or singer of epic poems. A literary work written in an exalted or impassioned style.” ……Webster’s dictionary

The heroic figure from Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus, and his painful but triumphant return to Ithaca, his home, was my inspiration for the title of our blog, Rapsodia Antillana.  Since we started the blog back in January of 2007, I have been somewhat consumed with attempting to convey my passion and my joy in expressing the spirit of my people, the Panamanian West Indians and their story. Continue reading

Baggage Handlers

Image thanks to Wikipedia.

Image thanks to Wikipedia.

Those events of my youth and our history, as West Indian Panamanians, up to and following my experience in Abel Bravo College, had always managed to shock me. It had always been difficult for me to understand that what unfolded before my eyes were the first steps toward madness and family dysfunction in the making. So that all those years in our upbringing had us hauling around all that emotional baggage and, in fact, tripping over it. Continue reading

Improving the Race- Secret Crimes

Image thanks to La Alameda.

Year after year, as the day we call El Día de la Raza approaches here among Latin American countries, many authors focus upon themes like racial stigmatization, slavery and social differences as evils that we must fight in the path toward “improving the race.” For this year, however, we want to expose what we believe to be some of the evil “ghosts” that keep haunting us as members of La Raza which our societies are most reluctant to mention, thereby offering a remedy; something we will call secret crimes. Continue reading

Heading for a Different World

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Throughout my bus ride I was feeling like someone who had been robbed of a valuable possession, robbed of that personal jewel that no other human being could possess, that which was that most precious item that no one else could keep because it had been found and handed over by “God” himself in some earlier moment of my youthful life, to be revealed in times of more fruitfulness. The thought regarding being fruitful remained with me that night as if I had heard of such things in a Sunday School lesson. Continue reading