“Life as a Black Girl in Panama”

International Society of Black Latinos

panamabf“Life as a Black Girl in Panama”

Written by Melissa Shepherd.

I was born in Panama and raised by my mother, Cleota, and the “Gibson/Shepherd village”. In keeping with the African proverb referring to the community’s impact on children’s upbringing, this village of sorts also included the neighborhood experience where everyone—biologically related or not—was called “tia” and “tio” (aunt or uncle). The adults in the community actively participated in children’s guidance. Translation: All these tias and tios would get us “flying right” and tell our parents about any mischief. And yes, we followed their directions as if they were our parents…Times have changed, but I digress.

Our family is a rich blend of flavors including: Irish via Barbados; British via Jamaica and St. Lucia; India via Grenada and French via Petite Martinique with names like Shepherd, Eastmond, Gibson, Dixon, Antoine…and the list goes on! This being an example of the…

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    1. I am doing so so.. I just thank God for my life and health.. Health, I’m learning is a fragile and valuable thing.. Just found out over Holy Saturday, that my mom has a brain tumour.. After many months of headaches and seizures, on Friday she was unresponsive and I had to call the emergency services. She is holding up now, but it was scary.. They initially thought she had a stroke.. Until they did an emergency brain scan! All this, and her birthday was on Easter Sunday! All this drama before the Resurrection of Christ.. We are just waiting on another scan and biopsy, to see what kind of tumour it is.. Desperately praying that God heals her.. Just as he revealed her sickness, on the crucifixion of his son, Jesus..


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