Tag Archives: Pedro-J.-Sosa-school

The End of a Fairytale

The surreal darkness of early morning was like a clean slate to my fragile ego. As we all gathered outside the school entrance to start our way home from the dance my classmates surrounded me and my date for our stroll home. I thought of the wonderful and long forgotten feelings of happiness I had felt in the remote past and how at that moment I couldn’t be more jubilant. Continue reading

Reflections in a School Yard

A School yard in Panama.

Growing up depressed most of the time, it had always been rough for me to find moments to reflect on my own feelings, especially feelings of joy and anticipation of an evening that promised to hold pleasant surprises. Tiredness had made me slow down as if I had been walking on a hot sandy desert without having taken a sip of water. My thoughts then turned to the opportunities I had been made privy to. Continue reading

The Outsider Looking In

I was exhausted after days of canvassing for
our school fair but it was worth it.

I made for the door suddenly feeling like an outsider looking in. “Ok Ana!” I repeated looking over my shoulder and met up with a group of my classmates as I walked out of the Director’s office. It surprised me that they were still hanging around but as soon as they saw me they began swarming all over me saying, “Hey Reid you know what’s going to take place today, don’t you?” Tiredness had already set in and it seemed as though every part of my being was exhausted. I paid no attention to their good hearted taunts but rather went to the business at hand. “I need some volunteers to go with me to pick up some stuff for the fair…” Continue reading

An Afternoon to Remember

Image thanks to eHow

I was genuinely aghast at what I was hearing proceeding from the lips of this white lady who was acting as though she were beside herself, more like in a trance, as she scolded and repeated to me saying, “Are you hearing what I am saying?” Before I could answer with my customary, “Yes Ana,” she was off again.

All I could see was her back as she rushed off repeating vehemently her words of counsel. “I want you to come back to Panama and be a very important man!” she said. She was so insistent that her strong invectives sent her into an ever more violent fit of coughing- her worse ever.

I automatically reached into my pocket only to discover that I had no handkerchief to offer my beloved teacher Ana who was visibly distressed as she retched painfully during her attack. I patiently waited and watched since all I could do was pat her on the back trying to be of some help during this extraordinary day. That incident would ultimately be the last place where we’d pass the evening together far away from the school.

We then proceeded down into Panama City’s Chinatown on Avenue B where we stopped to retrieve a handful of donations to then continue up towards the train station on Central Avenue. Like two efficient, professional scouts we were headed back for our “headquarters,” the Spanish public school with the mission of accepting a mixture of humanity which they hoped would soon become what the country of Panama needed.

Our barrio’s primary school had been named after Pedro J. Sosa, until then an unknown historical figure, which was to transform those children from the surrounding poorer neighborhoods into useful people for a growing Panamanian Society. In the decades to come, however, it would become what an impoverished Panama would inevitably become.

Another stop at yet another business establishment and then we would finally be on our way as evening turned into night, overtaking the day’s events as we neared the school on Avenida Central in the district of Calidonia of Panama City.

All our return trips to the school’s director office had produced quite a bulk of the items needed for a school fair and this trip was to be my last. We entered the school Director’s office where a clothing closet had been converted into a storage space for the myriad of donated items.

Reflecting on the events leading up to this final day of canvassing, however, I had gained some insight into another side of Panamanian society during all those weeks out on the road with Ana. I was convinced that, had it not been for this extraordinary experience with Ana Sanchez, I would have never in my life met that side of a Panama so divided.

I was on my way out of the director’s office which also served as a teacher’s lounge when I heard Teacher Ana say, “Juni you take over; take charge of everything! Pick some of them and go back to the places we missed and pick up the rest of the stuff.” “Ok Ana,” I said and turned around to immediately do as she asked.

This story continues.

Ana’s Prophesies for a Westindian Boy

Image thanks to license to kill

The fact was that I was receiving instruction in a field of endeavor for which no words of how to perform were needed between my Teacher Ana Sanchez and me- it was all observe and learn for me. Previous to these evenings my thoughts would probably have turned to what I was planning to do with a piece of dental work that presented a challenge back at Clyde’s clinic, without seeking any advise from the men I had known since infancy. So far, however, everything I had been involved in recently in or out of school could not compare to my new experiences with Ana. Continue reading

Is This All There Really Is to Life?

This is how Escuela Artes y Oficio
looked back then, before 1952.
Image thanks to their facebook page.

I guess my timing or approach was faulty, however, and for a youngster like me, who promised to become an intellectual, my attempt to get into night school was completely thwarted. The ploy of disguising myself as a day worker, hoping perhaps to pass for an older youth did not work for me that unforgettable night I spent my last dime on bus fare to get to Artes y Oficio vocational school. Continue reading