Though this post focuses on one special mother it is dedicated to all moms, especially my other grandmother, Daisy, and my own mother.
In honor of Mother’s Day I dug up a beautiful piece my Tio Lucho wrote a few years ago about my maternal grandmother. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with the world and that my attempt to translate it into English does it some justice. If I remember correctly, the family portraits I chose to showcase just how cute my Nana was were taken at the urging of my Tia Ilka, the youngest and most photo-obsessed of my mom’s siblings. Given that we lost Ilka in 1997 and Nana in 2000, we are truly blessed to have these professional photos of my grandmother with all of her children as adults.
This is somewhat old news…but at least it’s new to you! Since this blog is a research log and I’ve caught a new wind in updating it, I’m catching up on some entries. Here, I visit the Panama Canal, where my family story in that part of the world began.
Puente del mundo, corazon del universo
When shopping for souvenirs in Panama, you’ll find keychains, decorative plates, coffee mugs, and all the other usual suspects emblazoned with the phrase “puente del mundo, corazon del universo” (bridge of the world, heart of the universe). Continue reading →
*Sighs* I had basically promised my long-lost Cadignan cousin in Martinique, Christian, that I would come visit this July. And when I said it, I totally meant it. But now that next summer is around the corner, my financial situation has not miraculously resolved itself in the way the naive Anulkah v2009 had hoped. It’s hard to justify another big trip just months after going to Panama for the holidays, so I just sent Christian an e-mail letting him know I would not be able to make it to Martinique anytime soon. But I want to make progress in my research, so where do I go now? Continue reading →
As stated in the first post, the purpose of this blog is to serve as a log or journal of my family history research. Before I describe the first few encouraging steps I have taken on my genealogical quest for knowledge, I feel the need to detail the background information I have gathered informally over time. I guess that should be expected from someone who is interested in researching her family history – how can I tell you about where I am without describing the events that brought me here?
In the 8th grade one of my teachers arranged a potluck in which each student was to bring in a dish from their culture and explain where it came from. When I asked my mom why our Panamanian family eats fried plantains (pronounced plantin’ NOT plantanes, thank you), she talked about how everyone in Panama eats plantain. As some sort of afterthought she mentioned that that her grandparents, who were from St. Lucia and Martinique, and my father’s grandparents, who were from Barbados and Jamaica, came from countries where plantain was also widely consumed.
This was the first time I had ever heard of most of these places in any context, let alone in my own family tree! Continue reading →
(I figure that the web address “iamthediaspora” might need some explaining…)
One of the reasons I looked forward to starting my postsecondary education at Pomona College was the opportunity to take a class I had seen in the course catalog: Professor Sidney Lemelle’s “Slavery and Freedom in the New World”. I remember shyly approaching Dr. Lemelle when I came to visit the campus as a hopeful and clueless high school senior. He explained that the course had something to do with this thing called the African diaspora. I wasn’t quite sure what this “diaspora” business was, but I walked away with the understanding that this class covered the experiences of blacks both in and outside of the United States. And for me, this was HUGE. Continue reading →