This website is dedicated to the ‘Silver Town of Gamboa, Canal Zone’. It beckons the memories and stories of the families who settled the township located ‘across the bridge’ in the late 1930s and those who were the first to move over the bridge in the early 1940’s, and all those lived and reared families and seeded legacies that continue to nurture the character of progenies that have never experienced living there.
We are providing this space as a repository to gather our memories, thoughts and wishes to uncover and preserve the spirit and resolve of our grandparents, parents and our contemporaries to push beyond the barriers and limits of time to transmit cultural, community, life ‘lessons learned’ for the generation that follows. Ours is a powerful story of individual characters, but mostly a ‘community’ that parented as the proverbial ‘village’ to raise all of its children to attain life opportunities they only dreamed for.
Each of us carries a sentence or two of this story. Together we hope to string these sentences together through your memories, to capture and share the ‘village’s’ narratives. We ask that you share photos, stories, reflections on ‘Gyamboa’ (native vernacular) and encourage other friends and relatives to participate in creating this narrative on the ‘stuff’’ that made us laugh, cry, triumph and overcome.
- Gamboa, brief historical context: Presents a brief narrative of the geographic location of the town, it’s site importance in the construction and subsequent maintenance eras,
- Photo Gallery: ‘Gambo’ places, buildings and scenaries (part ‘A’) and ‘Gambo’ people, personalities, and organizations (part ‘B’): Presents photos and narrative captions of buildings and places of note of ‘Gyambo’ from its early dates to its most recent state before being transferred as ‘reverted territory’ to the Government of the Republic of Panama. The Gallery also presents photos of individuals, social groups and organizations throughout the life of the community. We present these photos only as an initial set that we hope will be continually grow with as a result of active participation of visitors in two critical ways: send us photos with captions and share your thoughts, memories and insights sparked by your review of the gallery.
- Gambo Residential Mapping: In this component we attempt to map who lived where in Gyambo. This is intended to initiate a conversation with the Gyambo extended family. We ask that use the ‘open space dialogue’ to share your comments and memories, help us better document more accurately what families lived where and during what period of time.
- Short Stories: ‘Gyambo’ life was so rich in personalities, social events, and unique interactions. Some of these ‘stories’ are legendary; others are beautifully poignant and personal. All of them make up important strands of our collective memories. In this space we ask that you share your stories with us. In this inaugural launching of our ‘Gyambo Reunion Website’, we are honored to have the very talented Federico Ellington Smith share one of his classic ‘Gyambo’ stories with us. We hope you will write and share one of your own with us.
- Open Space ‘Chat Room’: We hope that you will find lots in the photos and related commentaries, residential map, and short stories that will ignite memories and motivate you to share them in this virtual ‘community space’. You will note that in each we invite you to play an active role. None of us know the entire ‘Gyambo’ story but each of us have a part of it, that when shared, will help keep it come alive, keep us connected and a strengthened our family legacy.
Hello again, [June 22, 2015]…
Greetings ‘Gyambo Reunion’ family and viewers
We are overwhelmed with the initial viewership and response to our site. Within the first weeks of the site, we reached a high point of ‘hits’ that was totally unexpected. Viewers from all over the world tapped into it as did many of our Panamanian/West Indian family, friends and residents of ‘Gyambo’. We are grateful and inspired to continue this project on your behalf to provide a ‘cyber-space’ where we can build a repository of our experiences, memories, and life experiences that might be useful reference for future generations to come.
We sincerely apologize for the delay in updating the site and commit to being continuously diligent in doing so in the future. In this context, it is very important to convey that the viability of the site, its content, relevance, timeliness and usefulness in meeting its goals and objectives are dependent on your active participation. Quite honestly, we assumed that we would have had more interactive responses than we have experienced to date (contributions of photos, comments on those included in the first round, conversations/corrections on the residential mapping, contributions of stories, memories, wishes, and any thoughts, comments, analysis of past and/or current issues relevant to ‘Gyambo’ life, residence, history, ‘values and or culture’). While many of you have indeed visited the site we need your continuous contributions and feedback to ensure that it is kept authentic, current and provide a user-friendly space for continuous family conversation.
We desperately need to hear from you on how best to encourage an active level of participation and interaction on the site. We have heard comments that suggest that we are in large part an ‘oral history culture’ and that ‘computer technology’ is a ‘barrier’ to your active and timely participation. We do not assume any of this true. No matter that most ‘Gyamboans’ are of an older generation, let us raise to the challenge of technology and new communication skills. Where there is a ‘story to tell’ let us find a way to share it. If there are ways to improve and enhance your motivation and willingness to be an active participant, please let us know. We want to hear directly from you. So please take a minute to write us and share your thoughts on how we may maintain this cyberspace to best serve the ‘Gyambo Reunion’ goals and objectives.
In this refreshed edition of the site we are pleased to share several new additions:
- Another ‘Gyambo’ story by author Fred Ellington Smith entitled “Playing with Fire’
- Additional video interviews (selected interviews with participants in our last hosted Brooklyn ‘reunion’)
- Additional ‘Gyambo’ photos and related narratives
- ‘Memory Lane Recollections’: share your ‘Gyambo experiences’ in poems, stories, anecdotes, videos. In addition to Fred Ellington’s new story, we have three new contributions to this segment: a story from the late Ronaldo E. Sealey, submitted by his sister Olivia Sealey Jones, an essay/poem by Ricardo ‘butch’ Millett, and a poem by Gyambo poet laureate, ‘gyambo boy’.
To date we have received three comments on the residential mapping from Luis Cubilla, Frank Layne and Luis Cisneros. To accommodate all future submission we will design a spread sheet that will allow us to easily insert the name of the family, the date they resided at the identified building and other relevant data. We will continue to collect this data, confirmed their accuracy and share them with you. Until then we welcome your continued recollections (names of the family, and date of their residency).
We remain super excited about creating this cyberspace to ‘meet and greet’. Please look out for information on plans for our next ‘Meet and Greet’ session in Brooklyn, N.Y. We are planning to host it in a more convenient space (location, parking and accommodations) and looking forward to seeing you there.