Barbados: Culture, Sport and Media Blog 2
Meredith Stutz, Elizabeth Cullen, Pat Graven, and Nicholai DiBiagio
Thursday, January 8, 2015
While walking through the winding paths of the Welchman Hall Gully, we encountered hundreds of different types of exotic plants, trees and flowers.
Photo Cred: Meredith Stutz, junior
Thursday we embarked on another group tour day with our esteemed tour guide, Andrew, and visited the Welchman Hall Gully, Springvale Museum and Earthworks Pottery.
The Welchman Hall Gully offers a taste of a tropical rainforest with added local Barbadian, regional and other global exotic plants (see picture to the left). According to the Gully’s website, there are more than 150 kinds of plants found, including one of the two plants found only on the island of Barbados. Our guide, John, an Englishman, often referred to the Gully as a place of refuge. He described the area as a shelter for the plants, animals and people of Barbados. In the past, the Gully had also been used as the shelter for Amerindians traveling throughout the Caribbean. Additionally, the Gully has not always been such because it has been discovered to be geologically connected to Harrisons Cave. The Gully was therefore formed when the roof of the cave collapsed. This is made evident by the stalagmites and stalactites, a common cave site, while walking through the Gully. The main lesson we took away was that, “Education leads to conservation,” meaning that by learning about the importance of the gully, our class can be part of preservation for future generations.
Our next stop of the tour took us to the Springvale Eco-Heritage Museum. At Springvale we were introduced to the couple who ran the museum and also served as our tour guides. The wife, Denyse, is a French-Canadian and the husband, Newlands, is a native Bajan. The museum itself is in a former plantation hours and contains artifacts and antiques from throughout Barbadian history. They showed us various artifacts, furniture pieces, and recounted what life had been like in the “yester-years” of Barbados. We appreciated their attention to detail and passion to not let the stories and daily lives of Bajans be lost to the past.
Lastly, we stopped at the Earthworks Pottery. Earthworks is a pottery factory here in Barbados that now distributes its goods throughout the world via online marketplaces. Interestingly, since the island’s soil naturally contains clay, the pottery is made from local clay. An employee showed us the process from the soil clay mixture all the way to the glossy finished product. According to earthworks-pottery.com, there are more than 150 types of shapes and 36 different patterns that make up various kinds of dinnerware and serving pieces. Since the local business has boomed into an international production, the company now employs an impressive staff of 24, which provides a great entrepreneurial venture for the island from a global perspective.
Friday, January 9, 2015
After we visited Hunte’s Garden (see Blog #1 for more details) we made our way, via bus, to the coastal town of Bathsheba. According to Barbados.com, the name of “Barbados” comes from the Bible and King David’s wife, Bathsheba. The queen would bathe in milk giving her skin a fantastic glow. In the same way, the milky white waves and minerals in the ocean are said to give healing and restoration to people’s skin. The main fishing village in the parish of St. Joseph on the eastern coast also hosts an impressive and rugged coastline with beaches that are lined with obtuse rock formations, majestic cliffs and mighty waves (see picture below). These waves have become iconic around the world for their size and power. One such particular area that draws daring surfers from all over the world is called the Soup Bowl, which has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 thing to do while in Barbados. Inland, we saw several restaurants, bars, hotels and various pop-up eateries along our scenic coastal bus route.
The vast and rugged coast of Bathsheba hosts white sands, impressive rock formations and some of the world’s best surfing.
Photo Cred: Meredith Stutz junior
For dinner, our entire class headed over to take part in a national “must see” attraction: Oistins Fish Fry. Oistins is a major fishing community on the south coast of Barbados. At the fish fry, there are several different vendors selling flying fish, swordfish, lobster, marlin and many other varieties of fish in a very casual outdoor setting. Not only do they have delicious and inexpensive fresh fish, but they also have music, dancers, and other local vendors selling handmade crafts and jewelry.
Sunday, January 12, 2015
This past Sunday the group left the Worthing Court and moved to the Dover Beach Hotel. We also made our way over to the Dover Oval for a cricket lesson taught by a man named Richard. Richard played cricket on a national level for the West Indies. He now coaches at a youth level and serves on the Barbados Sports Council. Cricket is the national sport in Barbados and the most popular sport on the island. Cricket ovals can be found throughout the island. From our own experiences, travels, conversations and research, it’s clear that cricket is a large part of the overall Bajan culture.
Classmate Nicholai DiBiagio shows the group how to successfully hit during the cricket lesson.
Photo Cred: Meredith Stutz, junior
Our lesson began with an introduction to the basics of the sport. Richard coached us on how to hold the bat, field, and bowl. Bowling is the equivalent of pitching in baseball, a bowler’s goal is to hit the wickets behind a batter which would end the “at bat.” After getting caught up on the basics of the sport, we tried out our new skills in a scrimmage of sorts. Each person had a chance to bat (see picture to right) and bowl while the others fielded. This gave us a real-world feel for the sport and how it’s played.
When the day was over, we found a new appreciation for the sport and can now understand why it’s widely popular throughout the island and other parts of the world. Having the hands on experience coached by Richard was an amazing opportunity because of his experience and his commitment to young people. Personally we appreciated his patience with teaching 20 Americans how to play cricket for the first time! It will definitely be a trip highlight for us all!