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No Drugs…Lots Of Paranda

By Angel Nuñez

It can be categorically and proudly said that twenty five years ago (in the 1950’s and 60’s) there were no drugs on the Island but a lot of parandas.  Teenagers in those days did not have to worry about anyone offering them any type of drugs in their normal nocturnal activities in San Pedro.  What a fine community I was brought up as a teenager!

Now I can also say that there were a lot of parandas, and I am not talking about the dance “Paranda that the Garifunas are popular for.  A paranda was a drinking spree; they were apt to celebrate the end of a fishing trip, a birthday, a new girlfriend, an anniversary, or even a breakup with a girlfriend.  Now there were plenty of in those parandas in our days.  With very little entertainment on the Island young people got together, bought their little quart of some good liquor and headed to their favorite spot to have some laughter and fun. A lot of guys used to go and “knock their paranda” at the central park or up the pier where their noise might not bother anyone. This was done after hours like after the bars were closed at midnight.

Other guys used to do their parandas on Sundays at the beach.  They simply found a good spot on the beach from Ramon’s Village onwards, cleared an area and settled there.  There was usually a guitar and a guitarist in the crowd for the lifelines of the paranda.  Also there was abundance of coconut water to mix the drinks like Darley’s, Gin, Vodka, or Brandy.  

Paranderos were usually a group of five or six but at times it could be a large group of some ten revelers. They drank, had fun a lot of jokes, some singing and dancing too.  There was clean fun among the paranderos (revelers) except that occasionally there was friction with another group and a little fist fight would ensue.  However in these little squabbles there was never a weapon used- no knife, ice pick, and never a gun. Okay, occasionally an irate parandero would use a glass pint bottle and break it on someone’s head in retaliation to some disagreement.  But that was it, so when parents learned that their sons were in a paranda, they had nothing to worry about.  In fact being a parandero was a celebrated thing.

I must admit that there were one or two folks on the Island who went on a one or two-month paranda.  Oooops, that is called alcoholism but the folks simply said that they went on a one month paranda because after that they would resume their normal working lives.  

Proud that my little old San Pedro where I grew up was free of illegal drugs, but filled with good old fashioned parandas and glad to be able to reminisce on this lovely experience.  

25 years ago -No Drugs...Lots Of Paranda25 years ago -No Drugs...Lots Of Paranda25 years ago -No Drugs...Lots Of Paranda

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