PANAMA CITY: As part of an international series visiting some of the most obscure Sikh diaspora communities around the world, Sikh Channel has ventured to the Central American country of Panama to detail the lives of the Sikhs living there.
The series follows a number of contributors living in Panama as they tell stories of their trials, tribulations and success and whilst forging a lives for themselves in the country.
The story of early Sikh Immigration to Panama is connected with the construction of the Canal 1904-14 by the US Government. The Central and South American Sikh migration is intertwined with Panama because of its strategic location. Post completion of the Canal, some restrictions were imposed on foreign workers forcing Sikhs to look for new job avenues.
Some early Sikhs became peddlers or drivers of locally assembled small pick-ups whereas others left for other Latin American countries such as Brazil and Argentina. The impressive Gurdwara Sahib was inaugurated in 1986 and continues to cater for the Sikhs settled in Panama
The new Panama series includes fascinating generational stories of how the lives, culture and faith of Sikh settlers and their subsequent generations have become somewhat lost following their settlement in Panama and marriage to Panamanian women.
The series which airs weekdays at 9PM and is available online, shows how Sikh Channel is making efforts with the community to rekindle their Sikh faith and culture as well as reunite them with relatives as part of a global community of Sikhs.