Tag Archives: Chombo

The Chombos in Colon

Colegio Abel Bravo circa 1953. Image thanks to an excellent article in La Prensa.

In Colon I was still debating if to be on my own, free to decide everything in my life, or to live eternally pondering over such matters in facing my reality. In Colon I felt like I was infringing upon the lives of my mother, younger brothers and my sister. I was still debating if I should return to my aunts and grandmother and continue my studies at the National Institute in Panama as I still hadn’t gotten that feeling of belonging in Colon.  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

Only the Strongest Survive

The Harpy Eagle, the largest of the eagles, is Panama's national bird. Image thanks to wikipedia.org.

The highlight of our otherwise routine Monday morning ceremony in which the entire school participated was the singing of the school song which we all learned from each other. The hymn to me had no real meaning, although it referred to something about “…being tranquil on the lap of the Paternal Father Ancon,” which was where our school was located- at the foot of Ancon Hill. Continue reading

Spanish School Memories


For many people, even today, primary school holds many tender memories although, judging from all the violence that is visiting the schools lately, I suspect that I may be generalizing. My Spanish school memories in Panama, however, were not at all sweet. They were days filled with battles that turned me into a puny warrior ready to defend myself, and many political and social dynamics surrounding our Silver People had a lot to do with it. Continue reading

A Clear and Clean Character

Image: NASA

The incident with the cops and my neighbor Doña Dora had left a profound imprint on my psyche, as could be expected. So much so that the Cobert Junior I had once been would be prepared for another bout of mistreatment from my father, only this time I was ready to fight back at whatever cost. Continue reading

First Experiences in Spanish Schools

This is a bust of the venerable Pedro J. Sosa
that sits perched atop a column with the inscription:
“Ing Pedro J. Sosa, 1851-1898 Valuable factor in the
construction of the Panama Canal”


Some time after going to live with my grandmother and aunts both Aminta and I would be officially enrolled in “Spanish” school in one of the few schools that were being opened by the national government for Panamanian children. My first official school was the Pedro J. Sosa
primary school. Pedro J. Sosa, I came to find out, had been a Panamanian civil engineer who had worked alongside the American surveyors long before the Canal construction by the Yankees was initiated in 1903. Continue reading