Tuesday, November 30, 2004

God bless Bim

God bless bim on independence day
independence day
independence day
god bless bim on independence day
god bless bim we hope and pray

dis little little island in the middle of the sea
in the middle of the sea
in the Caribbean sea
dis little little island in the middle of the sea
it means the world to me

Barbados land of sun
Barbados land of sea
Barbados means the world to me.

God Bless Bim - Merrymen

Well its Independence day for Barbados. 38 years old today by my count (1966) so congrats to my birthplace.
Well not sure what to talk about today exactly but seeing as its Independence I guess it should be something related to Barbados. Ok, nothing's coming to mind right now so I'm going to have to wing it.

I find in general Caribbean people who go overseas to live, work, basically survive eventually become more nationalistic than the average person living at home. I guess its just something you do to preserve your unique identity when you are 'a foreign.' Something we do to feel proud. Our pride in country and our behavior and attitude are probably some of the best free advertisement that the Caribbean tourist boards get actually. I hope they recognize that.

We tend to try to keep the memories of home through association with our fellow men, listening to the sounds of home, going to the gatherings and speaking in our national dialects. To tell ya the truth to me nothing makes my day as much as walking down the street and suddenly encountering a random person with a bajan accent. It just takes you back somehow plus it helps you remember that you are not alone in this place as well.

Yet strangely enough as we here in the diaspora (yo never thought I'd get a chance to use that word) think of ourselves as more Caribbean or surround ourselves with the trappings of that lifestyle in order to retain our memories, as we become more nostalgic for the good old days, the opposite tends to be happening at home. Progress its called. So we do our thing here, survival, and in the back of our minds there is a longing for our island homes but its more the home of our memories than the home that actually exists today with the negatives of crimes, drugs and lawlessness. We only remember the good and try to ignore the bad. Not that we don't know that our homes are imperfect its just mainly the way memories and nostalgia works . Hey I'm not trying to cry down the Caribbean, I'm just saying that its not all sunsets and 'all fruits ripe'. The real is its just like any other place with the good and the bad.

Also to add to that some of us are here thinking we are sharing a brotherhood with our fellowman in the Caribbean but when we do go home for a vacation , to visit the family etc you notice the clear distinctions being made. For me I'm now a bajan-yankee or a bajan-canadian or a bajan-limey I just cant simply be a bajan. So distinctions are made in your foreign home and also in your birthplace. You are from but not actually of in whatever local you exist in. You exist in some grey blurred area between distinct worlds. Like Buju say "Things change". We no longer the same as those back home. Progress. Why cant I go back and simply be bajan or whatever nationality, why the distinction. My navel string still bury back there, I still born and raise back there with dem same folk that now making distinctions.

Oh well que sera que sera or a so it a go.

On another note in rambling through that (its not supposed to be no deep thoughts so don't read too much into it) some memories of Barbados just get in my head so I'll share them.

Things I remember. I think of the sea on mornings around 6 as the sun is coming up, of being surrounded by its cool waters. I think of fishermen hauling in 'moses' and the buckets of fish they have caught. I dream of snowcones and tip and run cricket. Rain beating on a galvanized roof, me sweating as I walk in the hot sun, liming in Bridgetown in front of Cave Shepard watching all de girls in dem nice work clothes looking real sweet at lunchtime but not giving ya de time a day cause dem looking fa big man wid nuff dollars.

Lunchtime you say? I dream of hot turnovers from zephrins, fresh salt breads, fishcakes, bakes , ackees (gineeps fa all wunnah people dat play wunnah gotta be different :-), gooseberries, fatporks, dunks, sugar apples, chilly plums, sugar cakes, glassies, comforts, black b**** (I not Eminem so doan cuss muh, dat is the name of a confectionery we duz have in Bim), bajan cherries, mauby, pudding n souse, sorrel.

Cutting the seeds out of fresh sorrel, picking green peas off the tree, cutting down breadfruit with a big stick wid a long sharp knife attached. Guttaperks, pelting rocks, catching minibuses which proceed to do the 'milkshake' and 'rock de cradle'. Cheapside market, walking through the Parliament building yard (cant do dat no more), walking through Swan street, Nelson street, Roebuck street, Palmetto square. Going up in the country to visit family, traveling roads with nuff blind corners and having to honk every two seconds. Rum shops with fellas dat is experts in talking foolishness and waxing poetically.

Playing cricket. Having batsmen ducking from bouncers, mastering the square cut. Going to Kensington oval. Marshall and Garner opening the bowling. Sitting down in the Grounds stand with all the old timers telling stories of the greats like Weekes and Worrell and also stories of Hitler Downes, Mannie Martindale and a whole bunch a fellas I never even heard of. Sleeping hard in the Kensington stand after lunch stretch out on the benches during regional games. LOL

Bush tea, aloes, ferrol compound , shark oil, mecurocomb, iodex, bengays balsam, and all the other stuff I used to have to use when I sick.

Calypso sweet sweet sweet on the radio; Gabby, Bag, John King, Kid Site, Sir Don, Classic, Serenader, Duke Check E.D shirt W.A.S, Cubba, Georgie Porgie, MADD. Kadooment, performing at NIFCA, liming in Oistins, going to the cinema and feeling to cuss people talking all through the movie....But it was all love still.

Too many memories so little time. So for these and all the rest I thank you Barbados.

Happy Independence.


Abeni said...

Happy Independence!Nice memories

Anonymous said...

Happy Independence day to Bim.

JDid, true what you say 'bout us when we in 'foreign'. I was so homesick when I was in London. And, as you say, we tend only to remember the good things 'bout our country of origin.

One of my favourite places was to visit in London was the little grocery store where I would buy ground provisions to cook in soup. Man, when I buck up on yardies there a cuss claat nuttin did sweet me so!

With them memories it sound like you need to tek a flight South rude bwoy! Dr. D.

Jdid said...

yea doc it calling me, i overdue for a visit. I duz always know when is time ta head back. I duz start callin home too often, lol.

p.s: doc I mek sum sorrel this morning, had it steeping overnight, going to kill dat tonight.

Campfyah said...

Happy Independence to all the expat Bajans out there
and all the homelocke ones. I enjoyed a cooled and refreshing day. Well yesterday, I did a dixie and cook up a real lick down traditional Bajan lunch wid rice and peas, cook wid some salt meat, macpie, sweet potato, roast pork, chicken stew and of course ah side salad wid cucumber and pear...man we wash it down wid some mauby and of course I actually mek some fish cakes and conkies...wrapped in banana leaves. We din mekkin nuh sport yesterday atall....Well after all that eating, all we cud do today was listen tuh VOB on de net and rest. Actually, I just was listening tuh De Hon Errol Barrow speech he gave tuh the Queen 38yrs ago.

So Happy Independence Barbados, and I look forward to spending 38 more with you.

Anonymous said...

JDid, had some wid lunch today (curry chicken), nice. You put ginger and cloves or pimento seeds inna it? I doan too love the white rum in it tho....add some sherry to it, dat wikid! Dr. D.

Jdid said...

cuhdear camp ya shudda call muh i wudda bring the sorrel. wha de only thing ya like ya miss was two conkies

doc, i put some cloves and a cinninon stick in it. it taste nice. nuh white rum fa me, me wray n he nephew doan get long too well

Campfyah said...

JDid...I mek de conkies...wrap up in banana leaves and all, bout two dozen ah dem....man dem clear out de plate suh fast, I was shocked. I barely had one left ova tuh eat de next day