So, I’ve showed you just a few pictures of my year living in the slums of Panama City. I’ve even showed you an enticing video of mc enigma and I interviewing women on race and the ‘mejorar la raza’ theory that many black Panameñas have adopted (while you got to sit back to a nice mellow Negros Americanos track of course). But I know you want to know about some of my experiences. What was my love life like out there? OK OK, just hold up a second I’ll get to all that. Now lets just go back to the topic of ‘mejorar la raza’. Its as if the Spanish slave master did such a bang up job with the mentalities of his African slaves. I mean in a sense Latin Blacks are more closely linked to Africa, if you take into account the music, food, dance and religions. However when it comes to racial self awareness, well thats where we have a problem. ‘Mejorar La Raza” literally translates to ‘Better the Race’. I was foolish to think that because I was coming from the states, I would have pick of the litter where the black women were concerned. Nothing could be more further from the truth. Countless Black Panameñas would opt for a lighter skinned, preferably white with ‘nice’ straight hair, so that their offspring would be closer to perfection. (Ouch)! I mean if lighter skin and straighter hair is a black woman’s view of perfection for her baby, how does she view herself? In this vast sea filled with the most beautiful women I have ever seen, I noticed that finding a woman that had a positive self image as a “Negra” was going to be very hard. Being that I love a natural haired Queen without a King, It was going to be like looking for a needle in a hay stack.
So I was told that the best way to learn a language was to get with a person that only speaks that language. In my case it was to find a woman that spoke spanish. And , well I did that, i talked to several Latinas in Panama at first and they were cool and all but I wanted my Black Queen. I went everywhere and no luck, I couldn’t find her. Until one day I was walking with mc enigma in an area that I was told not to go by my “Panamanian Aunt”. Don’t go to San Miguel, its crazy over there they kill people all the time. I tried to listen and not go, but thats what makes me me, I had to go. Besides it was filled with black people and though the area looked like a war zone, people had genuine smiles on their faces and there was so much street commerce happening in Avenida Central, Calidonia. So enigma and I went and tried to find out what we could get into, and as we were having convos complaining about ‘mejorar la Raza’ and how hard it is to find women with natural hair, when I spotted it her.
It was like she glowed from head to toe, there was almost an opera orchestra playing, as we locked eyes. She had and Afro straight out of the 70’s, stood tall and walked with a model’s confidence, I looked at her like prey. I knew she had to be in her early 40’s. I had never dealt with anyone near that age before, but I knew that I had to try with this one, I had to make her mine. I approached her with my extremely limited spanish at the time. “Hola me llamo Jordan y como se llama”? “Cielo,y de donde son ustedes que tiene el acento muy raro”?(where are you from, because you have strange accents). “Soy de los Estados Unidos.” Usually I say Jamaica, its just safer, but there was something about her eyes and overpowering energy that told me that I wouldn’t get away with that with her. The first thing she told me that she was a Santera, and she practices Santeria, it took me off my game for a second, but didn’t sway me too much. I was interested in the fact that in her stand she sold medicinal plants that could be used to cure many ailments naturally, i wanted to learn more.
I took a bus to that neighborhood to see her everyday during my lunch break at work, I stayed with her for an hour or so practicing words, learning more about her religion and the plants. I had known her for about a month and some change, it was around that time that I began to noticed that my apartment was infested with mice. I tried to get rid of them, and honestly I could have done a better job of it, but I was smitten, I just went ahead and sold my apartment and moved in with this woman, who I only knew for a month and some change. But the best part was that but she lived in the projects with a gang of murderous thugs, interesting right, I know.
The thing is that she’s had that business selling medicinal plants for so long in that same spot that many of the gangsters in the building were kids that she watched grow up. When they had no family to feed them, she would have them sweep the floor and give them some money to buy food. Because of that they were fiercely loyal to her, and if she said that I was untouchable, I was untouchable as long as I didn’t break the rules that they laid out for me in the beginning which I won’t go into. i saw some of the strangest things in my life as the people in that building formed a complete counter culture to the normal Panamanian culture. I loved living there with her, now I had everything I needed, I mean the building was way closer to my job than my old apartment. I had constant sex, someone to talk to and practice spanish, someone to cook great tasting food, to talk sweet nothings in the bed and get my hands caught in her naps juuuuuuussst like I like. Of course there were drawbacks, she was very argumentative and aggressive at times, I didn’t think her 14 year old son enjoyed me invading his space too much, until I bought him grand theft auto San Andreas which is suuuuper popular in Panama even in 2012, we became friends at that moment. She had a 22 year old daughter (not much younger than me at all) that called me Papa. This is where I would stay for the next 10 months until I left Panama to come back and import Negros Americanos to the US…………So, I suppose you want to know what became of us. Yes, yes but you have to wait till a later post, I assure you it won’t be that long.