After the incident with my neighbor, I was left feeling vulnerable and somewhat shaken and I began planning to leave the area with my wife and baby. Disillusioned now with my entire experience I started devising how I would leave as this trip to Bocas, ever since I had taken Pug to live with me in Baseline, had turned out to be a pack of trouble for me after all. I had been working hard since the first week we got to Bocas under the hot sun, torrential rains and I felt I had recovered my health and strength so it seemed the time was right. Continue reading
The policeman and I walked along in silence until we got back to my room, picked up the money I had so carefully saved away for weeks and left again for the long walk back to the Corregiduria. During the walk the young Westindian policeman asked, “Are you the same Juni from San Miguel in Panama?” “Yes!” I exclaimed dryly, annoyed by all the walking I had to do that day. “I didn’t recognize you at first…” he confessed and I held my breath. “But then I recognized you right away!”
After that revelation we walked back to the Corregiduria to find the functionary in the middle of hearing the neighbor’s accounts of me and my wife causing a living hell in the neighborhood. Continue reading
I almost drowned in a drainage ditch similar to this one. Image.
Most of my companions at work had heard about how I’d been challenged to a street fight, and I figured so had the Corregidor. So, here I was in the middle of a predicament, being hated by most of my Westindian neighbors without meriting it. In fact, it made me sad, the fact that I had done nothing to merit such treatment.
I hadn’t been getting the true story from my wife either, who kept very busy running up debts for me ordering clothing from those same neighbors without letting me know about what she was doing. The trouble my next door neighbor was planning did not materialize so I had time to devote entirely to my wife. Continue reading
The closer the due date for the baby came, the more I worried that the girl I had brought to live with me would be happy. I hoped that she would appreciate the things that we had acquired so far without her having to worry too much about where the money would come from. By then I had learned how women in Bocas, as in Colon and Panama City, worked their bodies to bring home more money. So far, in the couple of months she’d been there with me we had a respectable place to live and she didn’t have to wash my clothes or cook for me or herself as it was all done for her. The only thing I asked of her was to be loyal to me. One day, however, the question of her loyalty would be brought home to me. Continue reading
A bananero or banana plantation. Image thanks to naturelandings.com
The chief cook at the dining hall, ever vigilant of China and her condition, said, “You just pay me the regular and tell that niña to come and eat here because she don’t have to cook!” And so, we were installed in the community as the “black boy and his Chinese wife” to be the strangest couple who ever graced that part of the country. I would, however, have to give up going to the movies on Baseline because the movie house was owned by Chinese people. I had also given up on movies because it was mostly the men who lived in that area who frequented the movies and Pug was already an attraction on her own. Continue reading
Image from TheSilverPen.com
As was his custom, the Big Boss would come into the office and usually not talk to me. At first, I was put off by this although I didn’t show it. However, I had seen how envious the other men who had been with him longer would get and it was wise for me to remain reserved and go along with my benefactor to keep the peace in the office. He was right in his attitude and showing much more experience with these matters of interpersonal relations on the job than me. I would stop to pray daily to continue in doing the best I could on the job. Continue reading