Our ancestors have left behind for us all their
love and dedication and years of struggle in Panama,
as can be seen in this touching inscription on a mother’s tomb
in Corozal Cemetery in Panama.
One of the facets of African derived religion that I have found missing from the Panamanian Westindian Beji-Nites as opposed to the Hispanic brand of African religions in the Americas has been that of the inclusion of our African ancestors in their ceremonies. It was when I became involved with a Latino Spiritual Center (Centro Espiritual) that I would become aware of the importance of having our African ancestors revealed during the ceremonies. Continue reading
An old etching of a group of slaves being branded.
I would say this and similar situations of bondage
are the essence of “purgatory.”
From most of the accounts of what life was like coming from the Black Canal Zone to live in the urban cities of the regions around the Panama Canal, some of the people who experienced it would probably have described it as “living in Puckatery” which is purgatory in our Westindian language. Yet, even today, a great many Westindian people shy away from even participating in the surviving African derived religious practices that many frown on as one of the regrettable deceptions in their existence. Continue reading