Category Archives: slavery

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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iguana

 

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.

opening

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

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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.

F

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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Inline image 1 Inline image 2

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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.