The St. George Village Botanical Garden gave visitors a treat to remember and something to think about Sunday at the 2nd Annual Fall Heritage Festival, where rich history, delicious food and cultural music brought hundreds together for an afternoon.
The day started off when Junie Bomba Allick blew a traditional conch shell call to gather the crowd and begin the event. Allick was also selling his beautiful hand carved conch shells. Bully and the Musical Kafooners played Quelbe music in the Great Hall, while children and adults tapped their feet to the rhythmic sounds as they ate lunch provided by Good Chew Catering.
Dozens of smiling children played hopscotch or rode Stephen O’Dea’s donkey Eeyore, while parents watched blacksmith Richard Waugh demonstrate his amazing skills with metal. Judy Bain also taught kids how to make dolls and weave baskets.
Finally, after hours of walking the gardens and learning about its various historical aspects, a large crowd settled down to listen to historian George Tyson talk about the enslaved population that once lived on the grounds.
Tyson explained that during the 18th and 19th centuries, there were between 10,000 and 15,000 enslaved people literally working their bodies to death on the sugar plantations throughout the island.
Tyson is working to create a database going back hundreds of years so Crucians can see and tell their life stories from a historical aspect. He and ChenziRa “Dr. Chen” Kahina, wanted to give voices to the enslaved people because their stories Tyson said, have impacted all of us.
“It’s very important for everyone’s heart, mind, body consciousness to be open and receptive so that most important healing can take place,” Dr. Chen said. “I want to give voice to the people who didn’t have one.”