Tag 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

We Won’t Let Them Die!

“Lord” Byron Downing as he appeared in an interview from 2008.

We usually equate the Ukulele with the famous Hawaiian singers.

With the news of the death of one of the few remaining Panamanian Calypsonians, “Lord” Byron Downing, we can’t help but feel even more motivated and convinced that they are gone but not forgotten. We are also convinced of the great importance of preserving our wonderful Westindian heritage here in Panama and for the entire world to recognize and cherish. Continue reading

Secretly Hoping

The same passion for marching in the November 3rd parade shows on the faces of our youth today as in my time.

I can identify with these younger boys who yearn to join the older kids in the November 3rd parade.

Throughout this period I kept up with my mechanical dentistry trade secretly hoping that I could learn enough to open my own small business at home.  In this day and age, with so many people wanting to establish their own fairly lucrative home business, I can identify with their sentiments completely.  I yearned deeply for a chance at independence. Continue reading

The National Institute of Panama

Instituto Nacional de Panamá with its familiar double Sphinxes guarding the entrance. Image thanks to skyscrapercity.com, a forum for architects.

The experience of just entering a school as famous as The National Institute of Panama made me feel reassured that I had a place in the history of that institution. My family history, after all, had been seeded with the essence of that school with my Uncle Eric Reid being one of the first to brave what it had meant to be one of the sons of Panama and a member of the institution in its early days. Continue reading

The Importance of Lineage and Ancestry

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

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