Ermine Greaves hosted Scarlett in Checker Hall, St. Lucy. Ermine, along with her sister Pauline and sister-in-law Myrle, have hosted American students in their homes in the past and really made the students feel comfortable in their extended family. Alexa went to karaoke and Soca-on-the-Hill, among other outings, with members of her family; Scarlett was invited to a school graduation and went to a big family birthday party with Ermine; Amani got to attend a beautiful family wedding and practically refused to leave her host family near the end of the course! Because church is such an important part of life in Barbados, most of the students attended church with their families at least once.
Top left, Ermine and Pauline the evening they invited all the students over for a delicious dinner of Bajan specialities: flying fish, macaroni pie, slaw, pigeon peas and rice, and other delicacies. Christie, Scarlett and Zoe are ready to eat (lower left), and Scarlett in her room with Ermine’s 11-year old granddaughter Najera (right).
Alexa with Myrle and her son Goodwin (left); Amani with her host father Leroy (Pauline’s husband) and their son Rashad. It was such a pleasure to get to know all of these families better and learn about their communities.
Avril has WestConn pride! Elementary school teacher by day, talented seamstress by night (at least as a hobby), Avril took the WCSU Colonials t-shirt we gave her and immediately transformed it into this awesome masterpiece and wore it to an outdoor concert the next day. Avril was a wonderful host mom to Zoe, shown here in her bedroom at Avril’s house, and helped guide many of the students in their research projects. She provided a lot of local connections, helped us understand innumerable pop culture references, and kept us entertained and warmed with her Facebook posts. Avril and her beautiful children will be sorely missed!
Avril lives in a neighborhood called Boscobelle Terrace, in St. Peter, on the east coast of the island. This is also the neighborhood where Natalie stayed with Abigail Johns, another host parent. Below are Avril and Abigail’s homes; you can see Abi peeking out from her side door.
Our host families in Barbados were absolutely incredible. They welcomed the students into their homes, cooked for them, drove them around the island, introduced them to friends, family, and neighbors, and in so many indescribable ways made them feel part of the family and even helped with their research. Above, Sadie is with her host parents Griff (Roosevelt) and Judy (Juliet) Griffiths. Below is the view from Judy and Griff’s house in Josey Hill, St. Lucy; you can see the northern edge of the island in the distance. To the right, Judy is cutting open a coconut for us. This family lived in the most remote village of all the host families; the commute to Bellairs was a challenge, but the cool breeze was unbeatable.
The last week of our course, we visited St. Nicholas Abbey, a sugar plantation established during the era of slavery. At one point in time, the Cumberbatch family (direct relations of the actor Benedict Cumberbatch) owned the plantation. They had finished milling cane for the year so we couldn’t see the mill in operation, but we learned about the history of the plantation and the rum they currently produce onsite. We were dismayed to hear the story of the plantation deliberately narrated in a way that minimized the role of slavery in its success. This was but one example among many during our trip that illustrated the complicated way in which the history of slavery is both ever-present and glossed over in everyday life in Barbados.
A worker punching leather seals for the tops of their house brand of rum.
Here is Janelle, our spectacular teaching assistant, being interviewed at Q in the Community. This is a weekly event geared towards older Barbadians who are looking for an opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy some dancing, karaoke, and food. This week it was in a rural part of St. George parish and felt like a county fair. One student (Natalie) did some informal interviews with attendees for her project, and both she and Janelle were interviewed by the CBC QTV reporters for their live broadcast of the event. Here is the event Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Q100.7FM. These are such popular events that the CBC has even started hosting them periodically in Canada and the U.S. for the Barbadian diaspora.
Ryan Broome, a journalist with the CBC, came to speak to our class last Monday. He has been working in journalism and PR since 1998 for various news outlets and companies. Ryan shared insights about the media and politics in Barbados and talked about how social media has dramatically changed reporting in the country. We’re in the Brace conference room here, where we’ve held our seminars throughout the course.
An unforgettable view from my backdoor at my home stay. The pink L shaped house with the green roof is the Pentecostal church my host family attends every Sunday.