Category Archives: history

10 things I’m going to miss about Statia

In little more than one week I will be moving back to Curacao. There are many nice things to look forward to, but of course there are things I am going to miss too. Except for my friends, young and old, and special people I met, these are the 10 things I will miss most of all about the Golden Rock:

1. The travel time

Wherever you are on Statia and wherever you need to go, travel time is minimal on an island of 21 km2. Have an appointment at 11:00 sharp? Leave home at 11:00 and you will be right on time, Statia time.

2. My scooter

Although I sometimes have to tape my scooter to prevent it from falling apart, I love my blue monster. No need for air conditioning, the wind through your hair and Makeda’s arms around my waist.

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3. My running route

As a runner you love certain roads. I will miss running the road to the Botanical Garden and the road at Lynch going down towards the Berkel plantation.

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4. The animal shelter

For almost two years I have been volunteering at the SEAWF animal shelter. How I will miss all these cuddles!

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5. The roaming animals

Although there are roaming animals on Curacao, it is nothing compared to the number of cattle and goats on Statia. I know, they are supposed to be fenced and kept under control, but I still love it when a big  bull is slowly peering through the shutters of the pub.

6. Everybody greeting each other

On Statia everybody is greeting each other. Waving, honking, nodding, “good morning”. I think I’m going to stick with this habit on Curacao.

7. The Leatherbacks swim team

Makeda has been swimming with the Leatherbacks since almost two years and I have been a coach for a year and a half. I will miss all my kids, the swim meets to St Maarten and St Croix, the fun we had and even the times they drove me crazy 🙂 I love you, guys!

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8. Turtles hatching 

I’ve witnessed Leatherback turtles, Green turtles and Hawksbill turtles hatch on Zeelandia beach a few times. This is so special!

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9. My big yard with fruit trees

Mango’s, guavas, bananas, soursop, starfruit, cherries, cashews, sugarapple, papaya… and a hammock.

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10. The chance to find my own blue bead

Blue beads are very special for St Eustatius. I have been given one by someone special, but I never found my own. If you find your own, or as some say ‘if a blue bead finds you’, you will always come back  to Statia.

We’ll see where the wind takes me.

Next: 10 things I’m looking forward to about Curacao.

 

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Mr. Anansi in St. Eustatius

Wijnand “Mr. Anansi” Stomp is visiting our little island in search for stories. Personal stories about the past and slavery. Together with his team (documentary maker Jean Hellwig and camera man Ewoud Bon) he visited first Ghana in Africa and Zeeland in the Netherlands; to complete the triangle they’re now filming on St. Eustatius, the Golden Rock.

Between interviews and filming sessions the gentlemen took the time to visit the Golden Rock school for a performance. Mister Anansi telling the story how to outsmart Mr. Tiger and the other animals. As most Caribbean people, the kids loved Anansi. What a great way to keep a real African/Caribbean tradition alive. Thanks Mr. Anansi, come back soon!

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Oma vertelt – deel IV, laatste deel

My sister shares my grandmother’s story of World War II. This is the last part. A must-read for everyone that understands Dutch!

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“De herrie van vliegtuigen… Vandaag de dag nog steeds sla ik mijn handen voor mijn oren als ik een vliegtuig hard hoor bulderen.”

Op 10 mei 1940 om 03.55 uur liet Adolf Hitler de invasie op Nederland inzetten. Vier dagen later eisten de Duitsers de overgave van Rotterdam. De stad werd overgegeven, maar toch volgde het vernietigende bombardement. ‘Communicatiefoutje’ met grote gevolgen: 800 doden en 78.000 daklozen. Onder de daklozen was mijn oma Jitty.

Lees deel III hier >>>

“Naarmate de oorlog langer duurde, werd de honger steeds erger. We hadden een tante, Jo, in Goor in Overijssel. Zij woonde tussen de boeren en daar was nog wel wat te eten te halen. In maart 1944 zijn Ali en ik op de fiets naar Overijssel gegaan. Ik had een oude herenfiets met driedubbele – kapotte – banden over elkaar want er was geen band meer te krijgen. Ali had een…

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Oma vertelt – deel III

My sister shares my grandmother’s story of World War II. This is part 3/4. A must-read for everyone that understands Dutch!

Vingerspinsels

“Ik schiet nog vol als ik eraan denk hoe hij stond in die gang, die gekke gozer: ‘Zeg dat het niet waar is’. Maar het was wel waar…”

Op 10 mei 1940 om 03.55 uur liet Adolf Hitler de invasie op Nederland inzetten. Vier dagen later eisten de Duitsers de overgave van Rotterdam. De stad werd overgegeven, maar toch volgde het vernietigende bombardement. ‘Communicatiefoutje’ met grote gevolgen: 800 doden en 78.000 daklozen. Onder de daklozen was mijn oma Jitty.

Lees deel II hier >>> 

“Na het overlijden van mijn moeder, mocht ik van mijn vader niet meer werken. Ik moest thuisblijven om het huishouden te doen en daar kreeg ik zogenaamd huishoudgeld voor. Dat was in het begin natuurlijk een hele sport, want ik had nog nooit ergens voor hoeven zorgen, en dan sta je er ineens alleen voor. Ondertussen werd de situatie door de oorlog steeds slechter.”

Beledigen…

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Oma vertelt – deel II

My sister shares my grandmother’s story of World War II. This is part 2/4. A must-read for everyone that understands Dutch!

Vingerspinsels

“Van ons huis waren alleen vier muren over, en een diepe put waar een hoop rommel in lag.”

Op 10 mei 1940 om 03.55 uur liet Adolf Hitler de invasie op Nederland inzetten. Vier dagen later eisten de Duitsers de overgave van Rotterdam. De stad werd overgegeven, maar toch volgde het vernietigende bombardement. ‘Communicatiefoutje’ met grote gevolgen: 800 doden en 78.000 daklozen. Onder de daklozen was mijn oma Jitty.

Lees deel I hier >>>

Jitty: “Na het bombardement heeft Ali zich bij haar verloofde Kees aan kunnen sluiten. Ze zijn bij boeren buiten Rotterdam gaan vragen of ze ergens slapen mochten. Bij één boer mochten ze komen. Die had zijn stal leeggemaakt en overal stro neergegooid en zoveel mensen als er in konden mochten daar slapen. Vlak na Ali en Kees kwamen een man en vrouw binnen, met twee kinderen bij zich. Hun andere drie kinderen waren al bij het…

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Oma vertelt – deel I

My sister shares my grandmother’s story of World War II. This is part 1/4. A must-read for everyone that understands Dutch!

Vingerspinsels

“Eruit meiden, ik weet niet wat er aan de hand is maar het is fout!”

Op 10 mei 1940 om 03.55 uur liet Adolf Hitler de invasie op Nederland inzetten. Vier dagen later eisten de Duitsers de overgave van Rotterdam. De stad werd overgegeven, maar toch volgde het vernietigende bombardement. ‘Communicatiefoutje’ met grote gevolgen: 800 doden en 78.000 daklozen. Één van de daklozen was mijn oma Jitty.

Jitty van Leeuwen (3 juli 1921) en haar oudere zus Ali woonden ten tijde van het uitbreken van de tweede wereldoorlog in de Touwslagerstraat in Rotterdam Oost. Hun vader Cor werkte bij de Gemeentelijke Drinkwaterleiding aan de Honingerdijk, hun moeder Aafje zorgde voor het huishouden en voor Piet, de jongste van het gezin.

Het leven voor de oorlog
Jitty blikt terug op het leven vlak voor het uitbreken van de oorlog: “We hadden een gelukkig gezin, woonden in een leuk huisje, iedereen was gezond en we…

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United forces at CNSI

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On April 24 and 25 the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) was officially opened in St. Eustatius. To celebrate this, many presentations were held pertaining to the reefs, fisheries, marine and terrestrial reserves, agriculture, tourism, vegetation, research studies, archaeology, diving, history, public health and geology of St. Eustatius, the Dutch Caribbean and the Caribbean in general. Scientists and students from all over the world were present, as well as representatives of Naturalis in Leiden, the University of Wageningen and other universities, Carmabi, NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for sea research) and many more.

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A local lunch was held at the beautiful Lynch family plantation. The endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana came to visit.

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Governor Gerald Berkel, commissioner Carlyle Tearr and father Raffi of the Roman Catholic Church blessed the new institute, the STENAPA Junior Rangers gave a presentation about the formation of St. Eustatius and the brass band under guidance of maestro Dennis Amajan gave a great show. A big success by organiser Johan Stapel.

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Jos Rokx of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Island Governor Gerald Berkel and Edwin van Huis, director of Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands.

All in all a great initiative to promote and facilitate more research on our little Golden Rock!

Photos by http://www.cnsi.nl

Freedom: from Marcus Garvey to Jack Sparrow, from Chocolate Milk to Narnia and back

My mom challenged me with the letter F in this A to Z challenge. The F for Freedom.

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My mom knows me well. She knows I must have many ideas and thoughts on the concept Freedom. She kind of unleashed a stream of thoughts that is so big and thick it can hardly put into words in a single post. I decided to make a picture collage (+ one  commercial from the 80’s) of what Freedom means to me. Disclaimer: it’s just a glimpse of my mind. And my mind only. Freedom of Thought. Freedom of Expression.

 

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What does Freedom mean to you?

The Blue Bead & another story of slavery

This is “my” blue bead.

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In the 17th century the Dutch used these pentagonal shaped blue beads for trading. The beads were made in Amsterdam, out of glass. In St. Eustatius they were given to slaves as “wages”. {Sometimes I am so terribly ashamed of being Dutch!!}

picture from the Secar website

After emancipation, the legend says the ex-slaves gathered at the cliffs and threw their beads in the sea to celebrate freedom. Up till today blue beads can be found in the sea or on land. Mostly they are found on a dive spot called “the Blue Bead Hole” after a storm when the sand has been stirred up. It’s likely a ship loaded with blue beads sank there (or maybe all the blue beads thrown in the ocean by the freed slaves somehow ended up at the exact same spot, hm hm…).

Occasionally the beads can be found on the beach or somewhere in the mud on the roadside.

There are many fake blue beads around, which you can buy for a few dollars at gift shops. The real blue bead though is always pentagonal, sometimes a bit rounded by the sand over the years, and has this typical dark blue colour. There are very few white beads found too, but it’s just a handful of people on the island that ever found a white one. And be assured: a real blue bead will never be for sale for a few dollars. I heard stories of blue beads being sold for US$ 250 or US$ 300. But a real Statian will never sell his blue bead out of respect for the slaves. You can give it away, but not sell it.

I can tell you it’s a funny feeling having a blue bead. It may be “just a bead”, a useless piece of blue glass, but knowing that one day “your” bead once was a slave’s only possession makes it… unique.

The legend says you don’t find blue beads. The blue bead finds you.

And if you’re found, you will always come back to Statia.

I will always come back to Statia.

The first salute was fired…

After 2 weeks of “issues” with WordPress… I’m back!

In the meantime, I mashed up my blog by first deleting some big pictures (thought the problem was there), then deleting some posts (thought the problem was there) and then deleted the whole content (the problem wasn’t there). So here I am starting from scratch.

I decided to change the address and the name of the blog. Instead of showing you “My Planet Earth”, I now write about “Life on the Golden Rock”. Which is basically the same since my own little planet is situated on the Golden Rock.

The Golden Rock is the nickname of St. Eustatius, better known as Statia. If you’re not living on Statia or one of the neighboring islands, if you are Dutch and didn’t pay much attention during history class, you probably have no clue where I am or what Statia is all about 🙂

Let me introduce Statia to you with a little video about the island’s rich history. Enjoy!