Tag Archives: working men on plantations

It’s a Boy!

The baby was received in grand style.  Image thanks to dekart.biz

The baby was received in grand style. Image thanks to dekart.biz

“Hey Reid the boss want to see you!” one of the guys said. It seemed as though everyone I met that evening had been told to let me know that the Boss wanted to see me. And so, before I appeared at the evening meal I stopped at his house and knocked on the door. Even before he opened the door completely he was, like a happy grandfather, telling me, “It’s a boy and the muchacha is doing well also!” “Thank you Señor for everything,” I said barely believing my ears. “I am going to see if I can bring them home tonight,” I promised. “You take a few days off and stay with your family,” said the boss in an affectionate tone.  Continue reading

Loyalties

Image thanks to fotolia.com

Image thanks to fotolia.com

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

The Lure of Strange Women

Our crew would lay the network of cables to carry away the harvested bananas.  image.

Our crew would lay the network of cables to carry away the harvested bananas. image.

I had started working in a distant field with two young Spanish speaking boys who were about my age. They talked about visiting the whorehouses all the time. On one of those days when we almost had the job done a Company Supervisor came riding an agricultural tractor and turned in near us, turned off the motor and walked away into the nearby Banana Plantation. We understood then that soon this field would be harvested. My two companions kept up their conversation about the whores at a nearby brothel and suddenly jumped on the unattended tractor and took off, waving at me and shouting, “We will see you after lunch amigo!” I knew perfectly well where they were going. Continue reading

Our New Plantation Home

A bananero or banana plantation. Image thanks to naturelandings.com

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

At Last! We Got Housing!

bocashousing

This is close to how our quarters looked. Image thanks to Costa Rican Conservation Network Blog.

The next time I saw my two friends and biggest supporters who I knew as Big Red and Robinson, they implored me, like doctors with an urgent operation to do, “Did you see the man yet?” They meant for me to get busy seeing the housing supervisor so that they could get their quarters back or what we usually called their “operating room.” For the upcoming weekend they wanted for the China and me to be out of their way.  And so, I told Pug to accompany me to help me to get our own room. With the authority of a husband I led her to the office where the housing supervisor was and said to her, “See that staircase there with the window?” She nodded yes and I continued. “You go up there and tell whomever you meet that you are there to see a Mr. Anderson about a room he had to show us. Now you be on your way because they will pay attention to you seeing how pregnant you are. Don’t be afraid!” Continue reading

Stories Travel Back to Colon

Image from TheSilverPen.com

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